A rash of car burglaries had the Fallon Police Department searching for answers.
At least 46 reported incidents since Jan. 1 were spread throughout Fallon, although most of the crimes were located in the eastern part of the city.
Last week, however, FPD cracked the case and arrested five individuals in connection with the burglary ring, according to Cpt. Vern Ulrich. The suspects are Robert Blake Hesselgesser, 20, Jacob Don Gregory, 21, Jonathon Brown, 24, Sara Jones, 22, and Jennifer Milks, 22, all of Fallon.
“None of them (the vehicles) were actually broken into,” Ulrich said. “We worked on increased patrol and saturated patrol.”
According to Ulrich and Chief Kevin Gehman, Fallon police and the Churchill County Sheriff’s Office nabbed the five suspects on Feb. 19 at an apartment complex on North Maine Street.
Ulrich said the break in the case came when Hesselgesser and Gregory used one of their alleged victims’ bank card at two local businesses. Authorities examined the video and identified the two suspects.
Later in the day, FPD officer Daniel Babiarz pulled over Hesselgesser’s vehicle, noticed stolen property matching the reports and arrested the two men.
Ulrich said about 8 grams of methamphetamine was also discovered in Hesselgesser’s vehicle.
“We later contacted the victims and stolen property was identified in several cases,” Ulrich added.
That night after police obtained a search warrant for the apartment, law enforcement arrested Brown, Jones and Milks, all ex-felons. Another suspect fled on foot, although officers found discarded burglary tools. Ulrich said there are still several additional suspects and law enforcement agencies are continuing the investigation.
Law enforcement also discovered ammunition, but no weapons at the apartment after conducting the search. Ulrich said the suspects did not take any vehicles, but rather, small items such as cash, mobile electronics, clothing and perhaps siphoning gas to name a few.
“They were stealing items that were easily carried,” Ulrich said. “We don’t have any information that the suspects knew the victims as opposed that they went randomly down the street looking for unlocked vehicles.”
Since the arrests only one car burglary has been reported, according to Gehman. He said police received as many as five to six reports in one night of the burglaries prior to the arrests.
He said the string of crimes were random in nature and targeted random vehicles. Nevertheless, computer analysis of the selected areas in the city was constructed to assist the upgraded patrols.
Mapping, using pinpoints of each burglary location, gave police concentrated areas to patrol. Gehman said most of the burglaries were on the east side of the city.
“We did an analysis of the events,” Gehman said. “After that analysis … this trend became identified.”
Hesselgesser, meanwhile, faces five felonies including fraudulent use of a credit card, trafficking in a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance for sale, possession of a controlled substance and possession of stolen property.
Gregory is charged with six felonies including obtaining a credit card without constent, fraudulent use of a credit card, trafficking in a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance for sale, possession of a controlled substance and possession of stolen property.
Brown is charged with five felonies including two counts of possession of a controlled substance (meth and hydrocodone), possession of a controlled substance for sale, trafficking in a controlled substance and possession of stolen property.
Milks faces two misdemeanor charges of resisting, obstruction or delaying a peace officer and possession of marijuana. Jones, meanwhile, was charged with disorderly conduct by prowling.
Hesselgesser’s bail was reduced to $25,000 bondable, while Gregory’s is $15,000 bondable. Brown’s bond is set at $82,500.