Tahlequah Daily Press

September 17, 2013

Local teenagers face burglary charges

Sheriff says rash of thefts began in August

Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Two local teenagers are facing charges after a string of car burglaries near Jones and Rice roads north of Tahlequah.

Cherokee County Sheriff Norman Fisher said deputies took a series of reports from the area – particularly near Meghan Estates – when property began to disappear from cars overnight in August.

Sheriff’s Investigator James Brown began to work the case as reports were made. According to Brown, residents of the area who were on alert noticed the suspects getting into a car one night and chased them. A 15-year-old girl was stopped, but the second suspect – a boy of the same age – was able to escape.

Brown later contacted the boy, along with a family member, to set up an interview.

During that interview with investigators, the boy claimed to be a member of a gang and admitted he had participated in six car burglaries. He also turned over a basket full of the property he had stolen, and drew a map indicating where a couple of the burglaries had taken place.

Last week, a large bag of jewelry that was found during a separate incident was identified as belonging to one victim of the car burglaries near Jones Road. That victim, a business owner from Green Bay, Wis., told investigators she was visiting Tahlequah when the jewelry was stolen from her van.

The bag was later discovered by Cherokee Nation marshals after the two 15-year-old suspects, and a couple other juveniles, were stopped in a stolen car. Brown said the bag was found near the stolen vehicle, and marshals placed it into storage after the incident.

When marshals later opened the bag, they found the Wisconsin victim’s business cards inside and contacted her. She informed the marshals of Brown’s ongoing investigation, and Brown was able to take possession of the stolen jewelry on Friday. He said it will be returned to the owner.

“James did a super job by picking up and following the reports of car break-ins,” said Fisher. “I’m proud of the work everyone has done by working together to solve these burglaries.”

Brown said the teen suspects have been tied to six confirmed car burglaries. He is asking any other potential victims to call him at (918) 456-2583.

The teens are facing six counts of burglary and knowingly concealing stolen property. Brown’s report has been submitted to the District Attorney’s Office.

-- jnewton@tahlequahdailypress.com