Thursday, June 02, 2011
4 adults and 12 juveniles have been arrested after police say they've broken up one of the largest burglary and fencing rings in the city's history. In all, they believe there are more than 250 cases with property losses possibly totaling more than $1,000,000.
Captain Jeff Easter says the 16 people arrested have been connected to 35 cases which are going through the court system now. He believes two people were basically in charge.
"The juveniles would do a lot of the burglaries and car larcenies," Easter said, "and then take the property to the two older people who were the ring leaders of the group."
Court and sheriff records indicate Jonathan Thompson, 24, and Jordan Smith, 22, are being held in the Sedgwick County Jail in relation to these cases. The other individuals names are not available due to their ages.
Easter said police got wind of the burglary ring in May of 2010 and began investigation and surveillance on the parties involved. After three months of digging, they began issuing arrest warrants for the group members. Three people remain outstanding, but Easter says they should be arrested soon.
"The juveniles would steal items by breaking into cars and homes," Easter said. "Then they would fence the items through Smith and Thompson, who would then sell the items at a flea market in South Wichita. All of them would split the profits."
Items routinely stolen, Easter said, included big screen TV's, car stereos, home stereos, Playstation game consoles, and other electronics.
The 35 cases being charged so far involve a property loss of roughly $220,000.