KAYSVILLE — Davis County Sheriff's deputies stumbled onto a car burglary ring after one of the suspected thieves struck a little too close to home.
On Tuesday, detectives said 19-year-old Matthew Robert King was staying with a friend in Fruit Heights and started taking interest in the friend's safe. The next day, King was gone and so were the thousands of dollars inside the cash box, according to deputies.
Det. Ken Warnshuis said deputies tracked King on June 12 to West Point, but as they closed in he escaped along the Denver and Rio Grande Western Rail Trail at about 300 North and 4000 West.
He tried to run a second time as police approached him in Kaysville on June 13 near 400 West and 100 North, but he was ultimately apprehended.
Through detectives' investigation and King's statements, Warnshuis said they discovered King was part of a small car burglary ring that is suspected of raiding unlocked cars and open garages in West Point, Syracuse, Layton, Kaysville, Hooper and potentially other cities.
"We're still at the tip of the iceberg," Warnshuis said.
Warnshuis said detectives recovered numerous suspected stolen items from a home in West Point, including credit cards, debit cards, driver's licenses, bicycles, iPads, phones, binoculars and tools.
"We found road flares, which is kind of an odd thing to take," Warnshuis said.
Investigators said King had given a number of the items to a teenage girl he knows in West Point.
Recovered suspected stolen items:
- Credit cards
- Debit cards
- Drivers's licenses
"A portion of that money stolen from Fruit Heights was spent at the mall," Warnshuis said. "We don't know where all the rest of the stolen property went."
Warnshuis said he was investigating 20 to 25 unsolved car burglary cases in the county, and additional cases exist in other jurisdictions. He said he believed the ring could be responsible for at least a small share of the known burglaries.
Detectives were working to connect the dots between cases Tuesday. Warnshuis said additional arrests are possible.
"These people have only been active for less than a month, so fortunately we got them identified early," Warnshuis said.
He is warning residents to make things harder for car burglars by locking doors and keeping garages shut.
Deputies said King had a stash of marijuana when he was arrested. He was booked into the Davis County Jail on evading, theft and possession of marijuana.