Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hailey police crack major burglary ring

Five juveniles arrested, $15K in stolen property recovered

Express Staff Writer

Hailey police display some of the items recovered Tuesday in a major burglary ring investigation. Five juveniles were arrested and some $15,000 worth of property was recovered. Photo by David N. Seelig

The Hailey Police Department believes it's cracked a major burglary ring with the arrests Tuesday morning of five juveniles and the recovery of some $15,000 worth of stolen property.

The juveniles, all boys aged between 14 and 17, are believed responsible for more than 25 car burglaries in the city within the past six weeks.

Hailey Police Lt. Jeff Gunter said all five juveniles face felony charges of burglary, possession of burglary tools and possession of stolen property. They were to be arraigned on the charges later Tuesday in Blaine County Magistrate Court.

Gunter said a telephone call early Tuesday morning helped police crack the case. The call came from a south Second Street resident who reported that four kids were trying to break into his vehicle. The suspects had fled by the time police arrived, but two were caught shortly after.

"This guy gave us a good description and we actually caught them in the area," Gunter said.

He identified the would-be victim as Robert Cole, who chased the alleged burglars, briefly captured one of them and slowed the others down.

"Kudos to Robert Cole for his assistance in helping us apprehend these," Gunter said. Subsequent investigation led to the arrests of three other suspects later Tuesday morning.

Gunter said some $15,000 worth of merchandise was recovered, including laptop computers, iPODs, cell phones, CD collections, stereo equipment and binoculars.

Police believe the items were stolen during the past six weeks in more than 25 vehicle burglaries and one house break-in. Most of the burglaries were in the Woodside area of southeast Hailey.

"Hopefully we'll be able to return these articles to their owners," Gunter said.

He said Hailey police are coordinating with officers in Bellevue and Ketchum to determine if some of the recovered merchandise was stolen in those cities.

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