Police break up long-standing car-theft ring
Baldwin City police got a break and captured four Baldwin City teenagers who had been stealing from unlocked vehicles for months. The break was a victim who saw one of the boys Saturday night – and identified him easily because of his hair.
“One of the boys had been identified by one of the victims,” said Police Chief Mike McKenna. “He had a very distinctive hairdo.”
That hairdo eventually led to four teens, ages 14, 15, 16 and 16, being caught and interviewed in a series of burglaries that totaled thousands of dollars during its run since March. The police are reviewing the numerous cases to determine what charges to seek from the county attorney. The teens were released to their parents.
After the one teen was identified, he was brought in for an interview and the other three teens eventually were, too. That situation also had a twist.
“When the officers went to one of the homes to interview a suspect, he was receiving a text message,” said McKenna. “The officer asked if he could view the text. It was from the first teen saying the cops are looking for us, so don’t tell them anything.”
Through additional interviews, it was learned where some of stolen items were located. A total of $3,095 worth of items were recovered, mostly GPS systems and other items laying around in cars.
McKenna said the case represented hard work.
“It’s like putting pieces of a puzzle together,” he said. “We had many meetings. We finally got the break Saturday night we were needing. It was good police work by the three officers involved.”
It involved an old teenager trick, too.
“It’s the story of all time,” he said. “I’m staying overnight at your house and you’re staying overnight at mine and away we go.”