For eight nights Deputy Darrin Sloan watched a decoy vehicle set out by police in the hopes of snaring car thieves.
Early Monday morning, two Carson City men allegedly took the bait. Authorities said Tuesday an inventory of the van the men arrived in links them to five to 10 car thefts and burglaries committed in the last month in Carson City.
Thomas Thornhill, 26, and Tracer Harmon, 23, are in custody in the Carson City Jail on suspicion of grand larceny and possession of burglary tools. Thornhill is additionally charged with being in possession of drug paraphernalia and stolen checks.
Sloan said half a dozen people viewed items Tuesday found in Thornhill's van and were able to identify them as theirs.
Police recovered everything from bolt cutters to a George Foreman grill. The loot covered the carpet and table tops in the detective division at the Carson City Sheriff's Department. Sloan, Detective Richard Mendoza and Deputy Scott McDaniels spent the day sorting through the items and bringing victims back to view them.
Sgt. Bob White said 20 vehicle thefts and countless more car burglaries took place in the past month. Most of those vehicles were recovered parked in parking lots or without their wheels in Voltaire, Brunswick and Goni canyons. Investigators believe the cars were taken for their contents, not parts since most of those recovered were found intact.
At least six other cars haven't been recovered and even more stuff is still missing, Sloan said.
"There's still tons of property somewhere," he said.
He said they've even found items that weren't reported stolen, but traced them back to their owners.
"About six or seven items have generated new cases," he said, urging people to contact Carson City detectives if they believe they are missing something, but haven't yet reported it to police.
Harmon and Thornhill remain in custody.
Carolyn Oliver, dance director for the Northern Nevada Children's Museum, fell victim to a car burglar last week. Among the items missing from her vehicle, Oliver said, the bandits made off with a box of gloves of various colors, CDs for classroom exercises, notes for the upcoming show , the class lists of students names and checks and cash tuition money belonging to the museum and to Central Lyon Parks and Recreation Department.
Sloan said Oliver's checks were found in Thornhill's pocket. The other items have not been found.
"I'm very upset because part of our costuming was taken for a benefit we are doing for Piper's Opera House on May 22," she said.
Oliver said she hopes someone will return the items to the Children's Museum.
"They can drop them off, no questions asked," she said.
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