A rash of break-ins occurring in northeastern Fulton County over the summer may have been solved by the sheriff’s office.
Five persons of interest possibly connected to the crimes have been identified, according to Aaron Gladieux, Fulton County sheriff’s detective. The case will likely be presented to the Fulton County Prosecutor’s Office within the next week. From there, Gladieux hopes the case can be presented to a county grand jury convening Sept. 21.
No arrests have been made, but one person of interest is currently in custody in another county on an unrelated charge.
Between the end of June and Aug. 31 the sheriff’s office reported over 20 break-ins in rural areas of Delta, Lyons, Metamora, and Swanton. The burglaries always took place in outbuildings on private properties, and involved thefts of everything from tools to televisions to cars and trucks. Gladieux could not place an estimate on the total value of the stolen items.
He said the suspected individuals have been identified through a continuing investigation, but declined to give specific details. But Gladieux did say the same five persons of interest are also being investigated by other jurisdictions for similar or like offenses.
The Village of Swanton has experienced separate but similar break-ins over the past month, more than its usual share, according to Police Chief Adam Berg. The most recent occurred two weekends ago in the Willow Run subdivision, where thieves escaped with a variety of power tools.
In another case, on Munson Road, a burglar made off with a push mower from a garage, but not before a surveillance camera captured his image. Berg said the black-and-white video revealed a large, dark tattoo on the back of the suspect’s right hand and gave the impression of a similar marking on the left hand. A still of the image is to be released on the police department’s Facebook page in hopes of obtaining a lead.
“I think there’s a good shot. The right hand is totally covered,” Berg said. He said the department also suspects a second person may have been involved.
No leads have surfaced yet on any of the village break-ins. All were committed overnight.
“We’re letting citizens know to, first and foremost, lock their doors, and make sure to call if they see anything or anyone suspicious,” Berg said. “We’d rather be safe, even it’s nothing at all.”
He said the police remain vigilant, even stopping people they see out after dark “to try to make consensual contact with them. Trying to be seen and out and about is all we can do.”
Residents can make it tougher for thieves by locking their cars when not in use. “A lot of people will say, ‘I’ve lived here for years and never locked my doors,’” Berg said. “Don’t leave any valuables in the car, I guess is the first lesson. Locks are the first line of defense against an intruder.”
Gladieux agreed that unlocked buildings and vehicles on private property can be a habit in rural areas.
“Make sure your house and outbuildings are locked and secure,” he said. “If you could invest in some type of surveillance system, that would be great. And we still want people to call in suspicious people or vehicles in your area. Don’t jeopardize yourself or others.”
The bottom line is, “Due your due diligence and lock your property up,” he said.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.