Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Suspect arrested in Carey burglary spree

Burglar targeted homes of seniors to steal prescription drugs

Express Staff Writer

Jordan James Surerus

A Carey School graduate has been arrested in connection with a series of "home invasion" burglaries that jolted the normally tranquil town last week.

The Blaine Carey Sheriff's Office reported Monday that 19-year-old Jordan James Surerus, a former high school basketball player who graduated last spring, was taken into custody at his home Sunday evening.

Surerus was charged Monday afternoon in Blaine County 5th District Court with two felony counts of aiding and abetting burglary and two felony counts of illegal possession of prescription drugs. Surerus remained incarcerated Tuesday in the Blaine County Jail on $100,000 bond.

"Further charges are expected to be filed," said Blaine County Sheriff's Detective Steve Harkins, who added that the case is still under investigation and it is not yet known if there was more than one burglar.

Surerus was also arrested in December on a charge of felony rape for allegedly having consensual sex with a 13-year-old girl.

Sheriff Walt Femling said nine burglaries occurred in Carey between Monday, Sept. 29, and Saturday, Oct. 4. He said the homes of senior citizens were targeted with the intent to steal prescription drugs, primarily codeine and other pain medications. A shotgun was taken from one of the homes.

"Many of these homes were broken into while people were in their homes sleeping," Femling said. "The entire city of Carey was afraid because of these home invasions that were going on. Many people were preparing to defend their homes and I was afraid someone was going to get shot."

In one instance, Femling said, an 80-year-old woman witnessed a man trying to break into her home. She told him she was going to call police, but he kept trying to break in through the front door. When that didn't work, the burglar went to a door leading to the home from the garage and still attempted to gain entry, the sheriff said.

"He still attempted to break in when she's looking at him right out the window," Femling said. "That's the kind of thing that had people in Carey spooked. And had us spooked, that he was trying to break in while people were looking at him.

"To target senior citizens and to continue to try to break in while they're looking at you is pretty scary. It was brazen, and it was escalating."

Sheriff's deputies descended in force on the town last Thursday, with nine vehicles patrolling and numerous investigators seeking information to identify a culprit.

Surerus was identified as a suspect and flyers were posted around town, not specifically identifying Surerus as a suspect but providing a description based on information provided by eyewitnesses to some of the burglaries.

"All I can say is we did a full-court press over there," Femling said. "The temperature in this city was hostile and pretty scared. Someone was going to get hurt if we didn't stop this."

The rape charge filed against Surerus last year involved a 13-year-old foster child living at the home of Craig and Betty Adamson, whose son, 23-year-old Brian Jake Adamson, was convicted by a jury in August of sexual abuse of a minor child for a sexual encounter with the same girl. Sentencing for Brian Adamson is scheduled for Oct. 28.

Surerus was 18 when he was charged with statutory rape. He entered into a plea agreement with the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery in February.

Surerus, who was a senior on the Cary Panthers basketball team, was sentenced to 29 days in jail and was allowed to start his jail sentence at the conclusion of the high school basketball season.

Blaine County court records suggest he was involved in a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship with the girl.

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