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PROVO — An investigation led Provo police to a handful of arrests and more than 100 items stolen from storage sheds and cars.
Investigators identified seven suspects, arrested five of them and booked them into the Utah County Jail over the weekend.
This is a big bust for Provo police. Not only will some people get their property back, police said these five people have been involved in an ongoing theft ring to get cash from pawn shops.
The suspected burglars broke into several units and stole hundreds of items. They were also supposedly involved in breaking into cars in the Provo area recently.
Police said the four men and a woman would steal the items, store it in an abandoned house they were living in, and then would take a few items at a time to local pawn shops, to get cash to live on.
"They would commit vehicle burglaries, storage shed burglaries, then bring all the property to this house, put it in the garage and anyone who wanted could then take the property. It was a free for all, they could take this property to a pawn shop and pawn it," said Provo Police Sgt. Brandon Post.
The break for police came March 25 while officers were investigating a storage shed burglary at 1600 S. State. Detectives discovered that someone had gotten into a vacant shed and then tunneled through the drywall to three adjacent units, taking everything from bicycles to tools to ammunition to video game systems, Post said.
The detective investigating the case found that the fourth storage unit still had items inside which had not been stolen. So he took a chance and assumed the alleged burglars would return, and he "bugged" some of the remaining property, Post said.
As expected, that item was stolen later that same day.
The stolen merchandise with the tracking device was traced to the vacant house where about 120 items of stolen merchandise were found in the garage, the sergeant said.
The burglars were all living near 500 South and 400 West in Provo in a vacant house. Police say those arrested all have long criminal records for similar property theft and drug abuse.
As of Tuesday afternoon, they all remain in jail and each of them face a long list of new charges.
- James Pettus - four counts of burglary and possession of stolen property
- Steven Frost - four counts of burglary and possession of stolen property
- Marshall Dyer - three counts of possession of stolen property, vehicle burglary, and possession of burglary tools
- Ete Seiuli - possession of methamphetamine, possession of stolen property, and possession of paraphernalia
- Cassidy Broadhead - possession of stolen property
Contributing: Pat Reavy and Randall Jeppesen