Men charged in wide-spread rash of burglaries across county
Two men believed to be responsible for multiple burglaries and thefts across Morgan County and in
neighboring counties were arrested last Thursday, March 1 by the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department and charged with felony burglary and grand larceny.
Joshua T. Smith, 20, of Martinsburg and a 17-year-old male were taken into custody by the Sheriff’s Department, and sent to the Eastern Regional Jail, said police. Charges are also pending against another man, considered a person of interest in the thefts.
Investigator Lt. Tim Stapleton located the men last Thursday after receiving a radio call from the Berkeley County Investigator about a dark blue BMW involved in a burglary in the Tomahawk area.
Berkeley County police said the car was occupied by three males, and had just been involved in the
burglary. Police thought the car was headed into Morgan County.
Lt. Stapleton, who was investigating local burglaries in the eastern portion of the county, proceeded to a mobile home on Clone Run Road that had been part of his recent inquiries.
Local police had been searching the area for at least two weeks for a white full-sized pickup truck that had been identified on a crime scene near River Road. A Deputy Reserve officer found the vehicle at the trailer on Clone Run Road.
Leads pay off
Stapleton located the BMW from the Berkeley County burglary parked and apparently hidden behind the trailer. He radioed for additional officers to assist him, including the county’s K-9 officer.
Two females at the mobile home advised Lt. Stapleton that some people had driven the BMW up to the trailer, gotten out of the car, then into a Jeep, and left the area.
Police called a State Highways crew working nearby, and determined that the story was false.
A male came out of the mobile home and said no one else was inside the home.
Lt. Stapleton told the man that police had been advised that the BMW was used in a burglary and they were looking for the three men reported to be in the vehicle.
Berkeley County Deputy Christian joined Stapleton on the scene, and the police asked the trailer occupants to consent to a search of the mobile home or they would seek a search warrant.
Police started the process of securing a search warrant when Stapleton saw three males exiting the rear of the trailer. The men were identified and the owner of the trailer gave his consent for police to search the mobile home.
Search yields bounty of items
Inside, police reportedly located pillow cases full of jewelry, a lock box contain-ing documents with the name of a local burglary victim, numerous electronic devices, televisions, laptop computers, game stations, games and movies, furniture and appliance items, human teeth containing gold, shoes, coins, old paper money and several other small items, with a total value of several thousands of dollars.
The stolen items were returned to the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department, where they have been photographed and catalogued for evidence for both the local department and the Berkeley County Investigators.
Victims of recent burglaries in Morgan and Berkeley Counties have been notified and the majority of the goods have been returned to their rightful owners, said police.
Evidence collected at the scene also ties to a burglary being investigated by the West Virginia State Police, police said.
“I’m elated that this nightmare for the citizens of eastern Morgan County is over, and I credit the hard work and skills of all the officers involved in this joint effort,” said Sheriff Vince Shambaugh in a press release.
He characterized the burglaries as a “spree” that was “wide in scope.”
Burglary investigations in Jefferson County and Frederick County, Va. may be linked to the case as well.