Vehicle burglary ring busted
A call from an alert resident early Tuesday morning helped three local law enforcement agencies arrest four members of a theft ring suspected of 70 vehicle burglaries in Leavenworth and Jefferson counties.
Tonganoxie Police Chief Jeff Brandau said Christian G. Lowe, 18, Oskaloosa, Dustin J. Courter, 19, Oskaloosa, and a juvenile from Lawrence were arrested on charges of burglary and theft after a Tonganoxie resident reported early Tuesday morning his vehicle had just been burglarized. The juvenile also was cited with possession of cocaine.
Soon after receiving the call Tuesday, Tonganoxie Police officers spotted a vehicle matching a description of one an ongoing investigation suggested the ring used in the burglaries, Brandau said. The officers keep the vehicle under surveillance as the suspects returned to the vehicle and left the scene. Tonganoxie Police and Leavenworth County Sheriff’s deputies stopped the vehicle on U.S. Highway 24-40, he said.
Brandau said his department and the Leavenworth and Jefferson county sheriff’s offices have been investigating the burglaries since the thefts started about six weeks ago.
After the arrests, search warrants were executed in Lawrence, McLouth and Oskaloosa. Stolen electronics, firearms and other property was recovered in the searches, Brandau said.
A fourth man, Dylan D. Coleman, 19, McLouth, was arrested Tuesday evening and charged with possession of stolen property and possession of methamphetamine.
It is suspected the ring was responsible for about 70 vehicle burglaries reported during the six-week investigation, Brandau said.
“They’ve been real active,” he said. “They don’t even know how many they did. I’m sure there were a lot that were never reported. We found stuff with peoples’ names on it, and they didn’t even report it stolen.”
The investigation was making progress before the resident’s led to Tuesday’s arrests, Brandau said. Law enforcement agencies on Friday recovered a Tonganoxie resident’s stolen shotgun from a residence in Leavenworth County near McLouth and had descriptions of the vehicle and suspects from a confidential source.
The investigation continues and it is hoped more property will be recovered, Brandau said.