Car burglary ring brought down
Story and photo by Dennis Sharkey
Tonganoxie police last week arrested four individuals connected with dozens of car burglaries across Jefferson and Leavenworth counties.
The car burglaries started about six weeks ago in Nortonville before spreading to Winchester, Valley Falls and McLouth. A few weeks later local law enforcement announced that the burglaries had spread to Tonganoxie and that law enforcement agencies were working together.
According to a report from the Lawrence Journal World, Tonganoxie police arrested Christian G. Lowe, 18, Oskaloosa; Dustin J. Courter, 19, Oskaloosa; and a juvenile from Lawrence. A fourth man, Dylan D. Coleman, 19, McLouth, was later arrested with some stolen goods and methamphetamine.
According to the report an alert Tonganoxie resident called police in the early morning hours of Dec. 14. Police later located the men and arrested them.
Lowe and Courter have been charged with vehicle burglary and conspiracy to commit nonresidential burglary.
Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Herrig said on Monday that the investigation still continues and that more arrests could be made and that additional charges would be filed in Jefferson County after the investigation is concluded.
“We’ve still got a lot of work to do getting everything identified and put with an owner,” Herrig said.
Police reports will be used to try to match up items with their rightful owners. Some items may not have been reported stolen. Some reports filed said that burglars rummaged through some vehicles but did not take anything.
Herrig said his officers have put in a great deal of man hours since the arrest and a lot of man hours investigating the burglaries. Herrig said investigators were getting closer with leads developed before the alleged burglars were caught.
“The investigation was leading to an arrest,” Herrig said. “(The burglars) just made it handier.”
Thieves had an elaborate way of discarding one piece of evidence. A firearm was recovered after it was jack hammered free from a concrete block. Herrig said one of the suspects’ father works for a concrete company.
According to the LJW report, warrants were executed at residences in Lawrence, McLouth and Oskaloosa where stolen items were recovered.
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