Washington police believe they have solved the series of recent daytime burglaries with the arrest of a local man.
Police stopped a vehicle Thursday night and arrested the passenger, Raymond A. Bell, 30, Washington, who was under investigation as a person of interest in the burglaries. Drug paraphernalia was found in the car, according to police.
Friday afternoon, Detective Kevin Blackburn went to a home on West Third Street where Bell had been staying and spoke with a relative who had read about the burglaries in The Missourian and suspected Bell was involved.
The relative turned over a wicker basket full of jewelry that Bell allegedly brought to the home. The jewelry matched items stolen last Thursday in a home burglary in the 500 block of Hickory Street, police said.
Other items have been recovered and are being investigated to determine if they were stolen in other burglaries as well, according to police.
So far, Bell is charged with one count each of second-degree burglary and felony stealing in connection with the Hickory Street break-in. A $50,000 cash-only bond was ordered in that case.
Police, however, said Bell is a suspect in three, possibly four, other daytime burglaries that were investigated in the last week to 10 days.
It is not known if Bell worked alone or with another suspect. Detectives are looking at a possible second suspect, The Missourian was told.
Detective Blackburn also interviewed a female whose car had been used by Bell in the past. In the car was additional jewelry that had been stolen from the burglary Bell was charged with. All the property that was recovered from the initial burglary has been returned to the owners. More follow-up is being conducted and additional charges may be forthcoming.
After all reports are completed, police plan to apply for additional felony charges against Bell.
String of Burglaries
Other homes were entered Tuesday, Jan. 8, Friday, Jan. 11, and Wednesday, Jan. 16, police said.
Those home were in the 300 block of Stafford Street, the 300 block of High Street and 700 block of West Second Street.
There were no signs of forced entry and police believe all the homes were entered through unlocked doors, police said.
All the burglaries occurred between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Items reported stolen included TV sets, jewelry, prescription medicines, games, laptop computers and other electronic devices.
In one instance, thieves walked out of the front door of a house in broad daylight carrying a large flat-screen TV.
Police know that because some jewelry items stolen from the home were found where they were dropped on the front porch.
Investigators speculate that stolen items were sold or traded for drugs.
Police advise residents to lock their doors when not at home and to report any suspicious persons or activity to police.
According to online court records, Bell is on probation or parole in previous felony cases.
In April 2010, Bell pleaded guilty to felony drug possession in a July 2010 case and received a two-year prison sentence. He also pleaded guilty to felony drug possession in February 2011 and was given a five-year sentence. He also currently is on probation for second-degree assault in a 2004 case after a judge revoked his probation in that case, according to online records.