Archive for Thursday, June 12, 2008

Jump in burglaries reported by law enforcement agencies

June 12, 2008

The Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office and surrounding law enforcement agencies are still on the hunt for the person or persons responsible for a string of robberies in the area.

If the crimes are connected, the burglars are responsible for more than 40 burglaries of rural homes in the county.

"We believe that some of them are being committed by the same subject or subjects," said Lt. John Schermbeck of the Sheriff's Office. "There are no solid suspects at this time, but we are working with Wyandotte County and the Bonner Springs police and we have a number of suspects in mind."

In April, the number of reported burglaries tripled to 30 compared to 10 in 2007. In May of last year, 10 burglaries were reported and 12 were reported in June. Lt. Andy Dedeke, also of the Sheriff's Office, said the numbers weren't finalized, but there had been more than 10 burglaries this May.

The burglars primarily go after jewelry, but have been known to take weapons and other valuables.

Burglars have been gaining entrance by kicking down the front of the residence, which Schermbeck said is very common. Residents have also reported burglaries in which entry was made through a window when kicking the door down didn't work.

"If somebody wants to get into your house they will find a way in," said Dedeke. "But there are precautions that you can take. Improving the locking mechanism or locking your doors in the first place will help. But a lot of times people will install a $100 lock in a $20 door and that's not really going to help."

The county burglaries have not trickled down to Tonganoxie and Basehor. Sandy Koontz, the Tonganoxie Police Department clerk, said the city has actually seen a decrease in the number of burglaries through the years. In 2006 the city had 11 reported burglaries of either businesses or residences. In 2007 the number dropped to seven and as of Friday, the total number of burglaries this year is two.

Basehor is also following that trend. In May and April of 2006, Lloyd Martley, Basehor police chief, said the city had four reported burglaries. Three burglaries were reported in 2007 in those two months and only one was reported this year.

"We don't have very many burglaries in our city because of the established neighborhoods where people are in and out all day long," Martley said.

On May 20, the Edwardsville Police Department arrested two men on suspicion of stealing toolboxes from Holliday Sand and Gravel, 11101 Kaw Drive. Officers are also investigating the possibility that these men were connected with a string of burglaries of businesses in Edwardsville and Bonner Springs that have owners estimating their losses at about $500,000.

The day after the arrest three more homes in the county were burglarized.

Scherbeck and Dedeke said many times the only thing people in rural communities can do is just watch out for each other and call in to the Sheriff's office if someone sees a suspicious vehicle or person.

- Bonner Springs Chieftain reporter Jesse Truesdale and Basehor Sentinel reporter Lara Hastings contributed to this report.

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