Juvenile burglar in Helena entered homes through doggy doors

Published 9:36 am Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Helena juvenile has been charged with four counts of third degree burglary after confessing to police that he entered homes by crawling through doggy doors.

Helena Police Detective Chris Rollan said the burglaries occurred in the Fieldstone and Shelena Estates subdivisions. Approximately $100 was taken from a home in Fieldstone July 15, and evidence technicians determined the point of entry was a doggy door located near the basement.

Officers responded to a second burglary in Fieldstone later that day. Evidence technicians again determined the suspect entered the home through a doggy door. An MP3 player and $20 in coins were reported missing.

“None of these burglaries took place while the residences were occupied,” Rollan said. “The suspect would ring the doorbell several times and then hide to see if the homeowners were home. If someone answered the door, then the suspect would not proceed.”

The burglaries suddenly stopped until officers responded to a Shelena Estates home on July 19. Approximately $620 was stolen. This time the suspect had entered through the rear door.

Patrol units saturated the Shelena Estates subdivision, which resulted in the identification of two juveniles who told police they had been eating at Lucky China Restaurant and went to the Zone 1 Video Games store. Officers observed the juveniles had two new video games in their possession. The juveniles were then released.

Detective Rollan later went to Zone 1 Video Games and asked the clerk if she had observed any odd behavior from the juveniles questioned.

“The clerk stated, ‘Something appeared suspicious. This one juvenile had a lot of money on him and I have overheard him in the past talking about stealing,’” Rollan said.

Rollan brought one of the juveniles and his parent to the Helena Police Department for additional questioning. The juvenile confessed to the crimes, including a third burglary in the Fieldstone subdivision. He was transported to the Shelby County Juvenile Facility in Columbiana.

Rollan said a few of the stolen items were recovered and will be returned to the rightful owners.