Undercover patrol results in arrest
Lansing Lansing Police Chief Steve Wayman says last week's capture of a suspected car burglar red-handed demonstrates his officers aren't satisfied with just waiting for crimes to be reported to begin their work.
Overnight Thursday, on the heels of several reports of car burglaries during the span of several days, five officers dressed in civilian clothing were stationed throughout areas of the northeastern part of the city. They were out to "see if we could get lucky" and catch a thief, Wayman said.
It didn't take long into the night, just about midnight, before police watched two people in the 1000 block of North Second getting into a car and removing a car stereo and speaker box. Only moments before, the two would-be burglars had passed within 15 feet of two officers who were part of the undercover patrol.
When police confronted the burglars in the act, the two fled.
Just blocks away, in 1100 block of North Fourth Street, another officer was conducting surveillance for the police operation. One of the suspects was running back to his house, which happened to be in the same yard where the officer was stationed.
Christopher Haskell, 18, Lansing, was captured outside his home and arrested. He has been charged in Leavenworth County District Court with burglary to a vehicle, theft and obstruction.
Wayman described Haskell as "one of the prime people" involved in the recent burglaries in that area of town.
Though the second suspect escaped, Wayman said police gained enough information from Haskell to solve several of the recent car burglary cases. Stereo equipment and a wallet that had been taken during previous burglaries were recovered.
"I think it was a good proactive approach to take for us to go ahead and have the officers go out there, and the officers were actually pretty excited about going out and doing that. It turned out really well. A lot of things went in our favor, so that was a good thing," Wayman said.
The chief praised the officers participating in the patrol.
"The officers, when they came in, it was something that they wanted to do," Wayman said of the undercover patrol. "When they're motivated to want to go out and try to catch a perpetrator or do what they can to stop it and see what comes up. And then to have that happen where they actually break into a car right in front of them, that's a good thing."
Police continue to try to identify the second suspect so that he can be brought in for questioning.