Rash of crimes has police chief asking for help from the public

By FAITH HUFFMAN, News-Telegram News Editor

Oct. 16, 2008 - Sulphur Springs police are asking for the public's help in solving a rash of burglary cases occurring in the east end of town.

Those contributing information which leads to an arrest or conviction could earn some extra cash for their tip, provided they report it to Crime Stoppers.

Sulphur Springs Police Chief Jim Bayuk assures would-be callers that all information reported to Crime Stoppers is kept anonymous.

"Contrary to what some believe, Crime Stoppers does not have caller ID, and we're not going to trace the call. We just want your information," Bayuk said. "The Crime Stoppers Board each month looks forward to giving money away to individuals for tips. If they don't want to call Crime Stoppers, they can call me, and I assure you I will make sure that their name pretty much stays anonymous and won't be out there."

Bayuk said the thefts are being perpetrated during daylight hours, and at this time seem to be concentrated in the eastern portion of town. Based on the pattern of crimes and other elements detected, officers at this time believe a burglary-theft ring to be responsible for the crimes. So far, there have been seven to eight thefts, and items being taken are those that are more easily "fenced and dumped for quick money," including electronics, jewelry and at least one pistol.

One burglary, at a Calvert Street day care center, resulted in the loss of a computer and television. The owner has since offered a reward for information that can lead to the recovery of the items and individuals responsible for the break-in. At least one burglary was reported Wednesday night on Putman Street. That's only two of the more than a half-dozen thefts reported in that area recently.

"These seem to be people who don't have jobs to go to during the day, when the victims are away working to provide for their families and tend to their affairs," Bayuk explained. "It seems like a little group that runs together."

Police have been following up on all leads that have turned up relevant to this rash of thefts, but so far the clues have all been dead ends. Community awareness and willingness to report the crimes is so vital in catching those responsible for the theft, Bayuk said.

"A nosy neighbor is a very valuable tool for law enforcement," Bayuk said. "The stolen items are going somewhere. Someone out there is bound to have information about who is involved or where it's going. We encourage them to call so hopefully we can get these people arrested and forward it on to the D.A.'s office for further action, and get some of this stuff back."

The police chief encourages anyone with any information to call either Crime Stoppers at 903-885-2020 or the police station at 903-885-7602. If anyone witnesses what appears to be a burglary in progress, they are urged to call the emergency 911 number. Also, community members are urged to call police if they see anything suspicious or out of the ordinary going on in their neighborhood so officers can be sent to the location to check it out.

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