A phone call from a Cedar Hills woman may have helped end the longest crime spree in Utah County history - approximately 300 home burglaries committed by the valley's elusive cat burglar.
Provo police arrested a 32-year-old Provo man Saturday morning after the woman reported his red-and-white, late-model Chevrolet truck suspiciously parked in her neighborhood Friday night. A home in that area was burglarized at roughly the same time.Utah County Deputy Sheriff Dennis Howard investigated the burglary. After tracing the vehicle's license plate number, which the woman had taken down, he found the truck parked outside the suspect's east Provo home. Detectives were able to obtain a search warrant and found as much as $300,000 in stolen property in a garage addition to the home.
The man, who has a prior criminal record, was arrested for investigation of possession of firearms by a restricted individual after eight firearms were found during the search. He is being held in the Utah County Jail on $100,000 bail, pending his first appearance in Provo's 4th District Court.
Sheriff's Detective Jerry Monson said the unnamed Cedar Hills woman is a Neighborhood Watch block captain.
"This is a good example of how residents calling in suspicious circumstances can really benefit investigations," Monson said during a press conference at the Utah County Health Department, where the seized items are being held. "(The phone call) really gave us the break we needed."
The suspect, described as being "in and out of work," matches the physical and composite description released by the Utah County Detectives Association, Monson said. He said he believes the goods and other physical evidence may show that the man is the notorious "tidy" burglar who has frustrated investigators from a dozen law-enforcement agencies over the past 18 months.
The burglar left little evidence of his presence, except carefully planned-out "escape routes" in the homes. He also was selective in the items taken, many of which could be resold.
In addition to the firearms, other items seized in the search of the suspect's house include expensive jewelry, rare coin, stamp and baseball card collections, televisions, stereos, more than 600 compact discs and several oddities - such as a safe, a freezer, a battery charger, bows and arrows, an oxyacetylene torch, fur coats and three katana-type samurai swords. Officers also found receipts for swap meets, where the suspect could have sold other possessions taken in the burglaries.
Victims of the serial burglar should contact their local law enforcement agency or Utah County sheriff's dispatchers, 375-3601, to possibly identify items that may have been recovered. Investigators will not be able to release items until they have been cataloged and until the suspect has been formally charged.
County seeks 10 more days to prepare burglary charges
Attorney asks circuit court to set bail at $100,000.
PROVO - Utah County Attorney Kay Bryson has asked for 10 more days to prepare the charges against a man suspected of burglarizing more than 300 homes over the past 18 months.
In a bail hearing in Provo Circuit Court Monday, Bryson asked for $100,000 cash or bond to hold a man who is suspected by law-enforcement officials of being Provo's prolific cat burglar.
Bryson said the amount of merchandise to process - estimated to be worth over $300,000 - would require that much time. Thirteen different agencies from across the county are involved in the case.
He did not say what charges or how many counts are being considered against the suspect.
Kim T. Ellison, 32, Provo, was arrested and booked into the Utah County Jail for investigation of possession of a dangerous weapon, law-enforcement officials said Saturday.