Investigators have linked a lone burglary suspect to more than 200 break-ins after his arrest in an east Columbus neighborhood, a detective said Wednesday.
No property has been recovered but investigators believe the thefts occurred over a three-year period, said police Sgt. Joey Weatherford of the department’s Burglary and Theft Unit. All together, victims may have lost more than $100,000 in laptops, jewelry, stolen vehicles and other items.
During a 3 p.m. news conference, Weatherford said the suspect won’t be identified as an extensive investigation continues. The thefts by the suspect account for nearly half of 448 cases cleared over the last five months. At least 34 suspects were jailed over the same time period.
Victims of the break-ins already have been contacted about developments in the cases. Police used information from a witness and fingerprints at a crime scene to locate the suspect. Although the suspect is now charged in three break-ins, Weatherford said it will take police three weeks to a month to examine each burglary in which the suspect is linked.
In an unrelated case, Weatherford said police need the public's help in the case against Christopher McBride, who was charged with burglary after a Realtor found him at a home on Henson Avenue off of Steam Mill Road. Police said he was posing as a home inspector and may have used the fake identity at other homes.
“We believe it is possible he has been doing this on houses for sale,” Weatherford said.
Detective Molly Davis said the suspect was placing a stove in the back of a 2006 Volkswagen SUV he was driving.
“He had keys and a badge he made up,” she said. “He played the part as if he were a home inspector.”
When he was arrested, McBride was found with a set of keys. He told authorities that Columbus Bank & Trust sent him to take the stove and replace it. “The Realtor confronted him and said he wasn’t authorized,” the detective said.
Police are trying to find other victims.
Davis also is investigating the connection between a group affiliated with the Taliban gang in East Highland and suspects arrested in a string of burglaries in north Columbus. Police seized numerous guns, televisions and drugs during a search of a room at the Econo Lodge on Victory Drive.
Weatherford said Davis is spearheading a gang case due to the investigation linking suspects to gangs in Columbus.
“Those charges are pending now through the DA’s office,” he said.
Anyone with information on any of the cases should call the Burglary and Theft Unit at 706-653-3424