Ketchum police have posted a felony warrant for a Pennsylvania man who is the prime suspect in several thefts that occurred over the Christmas holiday, including an armed robbery at Gerry's Market on Warm Springs Road the day after Christmas.
Police issued the warrant for Jesse J. Bucha, 20, after a theft of some $250 in cash from an apartment at the Andorra Villa in Ketchum was reported to police on Jan. 7 at 11:40 p.m., said Ketchum Asst. Police Chief Mike McNeil.
McNeil said interviews in the course of the investigation led police to Bucha, also a resident of Andorra Villa, who was interviewed Jan. 8. A background check revealed that Pennsylvania has an active warrant out for Bucha for alleged armed robbery. Police then secured a warrant for Bucha on Monday, Jan. 9.
Bucha's roommates told police that Bucha had left with most of his belongings. They also reported to police they found that cash and six personal checks were missing. A forged check for $500 was cashed in Ketchum, but a second check was stopped at a Payday Loan office in Twin Falls, McNeil said.
"One stolen check (Bucha allegedly) tried to cash in Twin Falls was unsuccessful," McNeil said.
McNeil said Twin Falls police reported the forged check to Ketchum authorities because Ketchum police had notified surrounding jurisdictions that they were searching for Bucha. During an investigation of Bucha's flat, police found jackets in a closet that match the description of one worn by the man who robbed the cash register at Gerry's Market Dec. 26, and another matching the description of a jacket worn by a person who reportedly stole items from the Sun Valley Ice Rink over the holidays, McNeil said.
McNeil added that during the course of the ongoing investigation, a woman Bucha was dating produced a glass bracelet she said Bucha had given her that matches merchandise stolen from Bill Mason Outfitters in Sun Valley on Christmas morning.
Mason said six bracelets worth about $600 are still missing.
Although Bucha is wanted in connection with six separate burglaries, the felony warrant out for his arrest is tied to the alleged check forgery. Forgery is a felony crime.
"We have notified all surrounding agencies," McNeil said, explaining that when police find Bucha it is his belief that a number of crimes will be solved.
However, McNeil said he does not suspect Bucha in connection with two alleged breaking-and-entering cases that occurred early Wednesday morning at neighboring Ketchum businesses, Ozzies Shoes and the Coffee Grinder, which both reported incidents of forced entry separately at about 7 a.m. Wednesday.
A back window was smashed at Ozzies and $336 in cash was taken. At the Coffee Grinder, a rear window was pried open, the interior was vandalized, but nothing was taken, McNeil said.
"I believe it happened early Wednesday morning because it was snowing and shoe prints were partially covered," McNeil said, explaining that if it had been in the middle of the night the tracks would have been more fully covered. "We believe it was probably one person."