Christmas crime ring busted

Published 12:18 am Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Crime in general goes on the rise during the holiday season, but the Decatur County Sheriff’s Department had one major headache from Thanksgiving through Christmas when a burglary ring swept through the northern part of the county.
From Nov. 18 through Dec. 16, several suspects involved in a burglary ring broke into more than 20 homes across four counties — Decatur, Miller, Early and Seminole.
Two suspects have been booked in different areas and now face charges.
“In our county we had five break-ins that matched the mode of operation for these suspects,” Investigator Brian Donalson with the Decatur County Sheriff’s Department said.
Donalson said the items taken from the 20 homes were all similar and patterns of breaking and entering all matched. The suspects kicked in the doors — they did not pick any locks or break any windows, Donalson said. They also stuck to a strict list of items they were taking. Only flat screen TVs, laptop computers, game consoles and jewelry boxes were taken. Investigators said they began to notice the suspects were not taking remotes for any electronic devices and this mode of operation matched for all the burglaries.
“In our investigation we found the suspects were just riding by and picking a house where there were no cars and the house was isolated and out of sight from the road,” Donalson said. “They would pull up, knock on the door, and if no one came to the door it was game on.”
Four of the five incidents in the county occurred in the northwest region, off of U.S.  Highway 27 and one occurred north of Climax.
Joshua Tice of Cowarts and Najee Brown of Houston County were arrested and charged with burglary first. Tice was the only suspect booked in Decatur County. A juvenile was involved, Donalson said, but is presently not being charged.