Three people were arrested Friday morning in connection with several car break-ins around Fulton and Centralia. On Tuesday, more charges were filed in Callaway County, including six counts of misdemeanor theft, one count of felony theft, felony theft of a firearm, felony property damage and felony burglary for each suspect.
The Centralia Police Department along with the Boone County Sheriff’s Department arrested 18 year-old Ladarion Hunt of Columbia, 18-year-old Michael Glasgow Jr. of Columbia, and 18-year-old Sarah Gibb of Moberly.
Larry Dudgeon, Centralia Police Chief, said Moberly, Eldon and Hallsville law enforcement are also participating in the investigation following similar car break-in cases in their jurisdictions.
Dudgeon said the three suspects were arrested on Miles Avenue just off of Lakeview Street around 7 o’clock Friday morning. He said a neighbor called police about suspicious activity in the area.
“People in Centralia are really good about calling the local police department number,” he said. “And with the assistance of at least four Boone County deputies, one of which had a K9, we were able to get all three arrested without incident.”
Chief Dudgeon said at least 12 cars were broken into in Centralia.
“It seems right now we’re still getting our arms around how many vehicles they got into,” he said.
Fulton police said they responded to several reports of vehicle break-ins in the 1200 block of Lane Street, 900 block of West Morningside Drive, 800 of Gross Place, 1200 block of St. Louis Avenue, 1200 block of Perry, and 1000 block of Chippewa Drive.
Some of the victims reported items stolen, including cash, electronics, and a firearm. Officers were able to track one of the stolen electronic devices to a location in Centralia, Missouri. Fulton police contacted the Centralia Police Department and discovered they were investigating similar reports. An investigation apparently lead Centralia police to the three suspects, who they took into custody.
Centralia police were able to recover multiple items reported stolen in Fulton, including the firearm. Chief Dudgeon said several firearms were stolen in Centralia as well.
The principal of Centralia High told ABC17 News Friday morning that the school was in the process of going under lockdown at 7:30 a.m. The principal told ABC17 News it happened as students were getting to school.
Authorities told staff at the school that there were suspects who were considered armed and at large around the school, but the school did not end up having to go on total lockdown.
On Monday, Chief Russ Tarr of the Moberly Police Department said his agency had received at least 50 reports of car break-ins in the last week in and a half. Tarr said he suspects the three arrested in Centralia in some of those cases.
They were charged over the weekend in Boone County on two counts of receiving stolen property and three counts of stealing firearms. Authorities suspect they are responsible for 300 to 400 car break-ins taking place all over the state.
Officials said the suspects had a trailer full of stolen property in Ashland.
Chief Tarr said he’s been in law enforcement for many years and a crime spree like this doesn’t come along too often.
“It’s very unusual. It does occur though and that’s why we ask people to make sure they’re not leaving things out and about and keep your vehicle locked. That’s a very important thing, but this is something that plagues a lot of law enforcement agencies,” said Tarr.
Two of three are cooperating with the investigation. They reportedly confessed they have been doing this for several weeks and have also taken property from houses.
They are being held without bond in the Boone County jail.
The Centralia Police Department is also seeking multiple charges following its investigation.
“We’re in the process of gathering, labeling, securing all the evidence, doing our probable cause statement and getting them off to the prosecutor’s office,” Chief Dudgeon said.
Centralia Police are seeking the following charges: four counts of second degree misdemeanor tampering, three counts felony stealing of firearm, two counts receiving stolen property, one count drug possession with intent to distribute, one count misdemeanor unlawful use of drug paraphernalia, one count of felony armed criminal action, one count of felony unlawful use of a weapon and one count of felony resisting arrest.
More charges may be filed as the investigation continues in other jurisdictions.
To report a car break-in or any other information, people are required to call Centralia police at (573) 682-2132.