One of the suspects in the burglary of two Minden residences reportedly told investigators he had nothing to do with the break-ins, but admitted his willingness to store firearms and other stolen property was a poor decision.
Following a Secret Witness tip, suspects Ryan Hiltz, 28, of Gardnerville; Justin Turek, 30, of Minden; and Reno resident Melanie Gurule, 30, were arrested.
Turek and Hiltz were arraigned Tuesday in East Fork Justice Court by Judge Tom Perkins.
Gurule, also known as Anelo, is in custody in the Washoe County Jail on charges stemming from pawning of property believed taken in the burglaries. Gurule is being held on charges of burglary, possession of stolen property, and obtaining money by false pretenses. Her bail is set at $30,500.
Bail is $50,000 each for Hiltz and Turek.
They are charged with two counts of possession of a stolen firearm and possession of stolen property. In addition, Hiltz is charged with being an ex-felon in possession of a stolen firearm.
According to court documents, two residences on Wildrose were burglarized between Aug. 20-23.
Missing items included three firearms, jewelry, coins, cash and metal detectors.
One victim's loss was estimated at $40,000. Deputies said some of the items have been recovered. Those items have not yet been returned to the property owners.
On Aug. 28, deputies received a Secret Witness tip from a caller who reportedly heard Turek bragging about the burglaries and other details.
The caller didn't think much about Turek's comments until reading an account of the burglaries in The Record-Courier, and contacted the sheriff's office.
An investigation of Turek led investigators to Hiltz, who claimed Turek had asked if he could store firearms at Hiltz's residence.
Hiltz said he hesitated initially because he has a 3-year-old son, and as an ex-felon, Hiltz is not allowed to possess firearms. But, Hiltz said, he agreed to take two weapons for Turek.
That week, Hiltz said he, Turek and Gurule went to the beach. He said he photographed Turek using a metal detector which matched one of the stolen items.
A few days later, he said Turek also asked him to help pawn jewelry. Hiltz said he was suspicious, but agreed to help. Hiltz said Turek paid him $40 from the $500 which Turek was paid for the items pawned in Carson City.
On Aug. 26, Hiltz said Turek asked whether he had read accounts of the burglaries in The Record-Courier. Hiltz said he had not, but later read the online version of the burglary stories.
He said he called Turek, who acknowledged the items were stolen but didn't admit the burglaries.
He said Turek stopped returning his telephone calls.
Hiltz told investigators he was scared and was actually relieved when he was contacted by the sheriff's office.
The suspects' next court appearance for Sept. 12.