MONROE, CT — Police detectives used surveillance video from fraudulent credit card purchases to identity a juvenile suspect in a rash of thefts from motor vehicles in town, and made the arrest on Monday.
Police said security camera footage also directly tied the 15-year-old directly to thefts reported on Autumn Drive on Friday.
The juvenile, who is from West Haven, was charged with criminal liability for acts of another, two counts of second-degree larceny, conspiracy to commit illegal use of a payment card, conspiracy to commit identity theft, and conspiracy to commit illegal furnishing of money, goods or services on a payment card.
This was in connection to thefts reported on July 27.
At approximately 6:02 a.m., police responded to the report of a 2014 Cadillac CTS that was stolen from a residence on Moose Hill Road. The victim told officers his car was taken during the overnight hours.
A second vehicle in the driveway, a Kia Sportage, was also entered and ransacked, police said, adding both vehicles were left unlocked and the keys to the Cadillac were in the vehicle at the time of the theft. Cash, debit, and credit cards were also reported missing from both vehicles.
The victims later told police several fraudulent purchases were made using their stolen debit and credit cards.
That night, police said several other unlocked vehicles were also entered in the area.
In addition to surveillance footage detectives obtained from the fraudulent purchases, police said information from prior arrests in other areas was also used to identify a suspect.
In a separate case, the juvenile was charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit burglary in the third degree in connection to thefts reported on July 31. He is scheduled to appear at Bridgeport Juvenile Court on Aug. 17.
On July 31, at around 9:28 a.m., police received the complaint of multiple vehicles being entered and items stolen on Autumn Drive in Monroe. During the investigation, surveillance video was obtained and the same juvenile was identified as the person going into vehicles.
A statewide problem
Police are still investigating a rash of thefts from vehicles and two vehicle thefts reported over the last weekend. Lt. Stephen Corrone says it is a problem, not only in Monroe and surrounding towns, but the entire state.
Some residents on social media were asking why home security cameras are not leading to quicker arrests, but Corrone said these crimes are often committed by juveniles with no driver’s licenses or criminal records, lengthening the process of identifying suspects.
“We typically identify them. It just takes more time and in the meantime they’re hitting us over and over,” he said Tuesday.
Oftentimes, Corrone said thieves are identified after their images are captured on store cameras, while they use stolen credit cards. Though police sometimes need a warrant to see the video footage, causing another delay.
Corrone said Monroe’s officers process cars and use the DNA on cars during their investigations. Police also communicate with other law enforcement agencies, so when arrests are made, it often closes cases in several towns.
“Things don’t happen immediately,” he said. “We’re doing our best, but we need the public’s help to not make a target rich environment. If they know we’re keeping our doors unlocked with car keys and credit cards inside, they’re going to come back. It’s not the victims’ fault, but if there’s nothing for thieves to take, they’ll stop coming.”
Police remind residents to lock their car doors, to never leave valuables inside and to call them whenever they see something suspicious in their neighborhood.
Officers found a silver Jeep Grand Cherokee idling in the middle of Bagburn Road at 3:22 a.m. Friday. Police said the vehicle was unoccupied, the driver’s side window was down, the lights were on, and the glovebox was open.
Police determined it was stolen from a resident on Barn Hill Road. During the investigation, officers noticed a Honda Accord parked in a driveway on Bagburn Road had its interior light on.
The Honda had been entered and credit cards, debit cards and a driver’s license were taken, according to the report.
Another unlocked vehicle on Greenfield Hill Road was entered overnight and $20 cash was stolen, police said.
On Aug. 1, police responded to the report of an unlocked Audi Q5 that was entered on Colonial Drive and a wallet, debit cards, credit cards, a driver’s license, gift cards, a set of Toyota car keys and $200 worth of makeup were stolen. Police said it occurred sometime overnight.
Officers almost caught a group of thieves on Saturday after receiving a report of a dark colored SUV pulling up a resident’s driveway on Christianna Drive around midnight. The resident yelled at them, before they took off.
Police responding to the report of a stolen vehicle and several people attempting to enter vehicles on Turkey Roost Road at 12:44 a.m., found personal items in the road in the 40-block of the street.
There was also the complaint of suspicious people in two dark colored SUVs and a red sedan on Georges Lane, which is in the same area.
An officer in the area saw SUVs matching the description pass him at a high rate of speed, heading west. Police said he turned around and followed them.
While heading toward the intersection of Fan Hill and Turkey Roost roads, the officer saw taillights traveling north on Fan Hill, toward Newtown, turned and followed.
As the police cruiser approached the 390 block of Fan Hill Road, the officer saw a black Honda Pilot in middle of the road, unoccupied with its engine running and its lights on. He determined it had been stolen from a residence on Georges Lane.
The vehicle the officer had been following continued into Newtown.