Kurt Hildebrand

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January 7, 2014
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Two crowbar burglary suspects admit guilt

A South Lake Tahoe couple accused in a series of crowbar burglaries pleaded guilty to multiple felony charges in Douglas County District Court on Tuesday.

Joseph Winters, 48, admitted to four counts of burglary in relation to a spree that occurred in Douglas County and South Lake Tahoe. Jean René Winters, 44, admitted to two counts of burglary and two counts of possession of stolen property.

Joseph Winters told District Judge Tod Young that he understood he faced a maximum of 40 years in prison. Jean Winters faces a maximum of 30 years in prison. They could be fined a maximum of $40,000 each at their sentencings, which Young set for March 4.

Joseph Winters admitted to entering or serving as a lookout at one business and three homes with the purpose of stealing.

“I stole property from those people,” he said of the thefts that ranged from Foothill to Indian Hills in Carson Valley.

Jean Winters admitted to two possession of stolen property charges because she had two rings and a watch that had been taken in the burglaries that occurred Oct. 11-18.

The Winters were among three people arrested on Oct. 18 at a home in Valley Crest Estates where someone had used a crowbar to break in.

Joseph Winters admitted to burglaries on Lake Side Drive in the foothill area, Parkview Drive and Valley Vista in Indian Hills.

At the scene of their arrest, investigators found a white 2000 Ford Explorer described in an Oct. 11 burglary attempt in Minden.

The Minden resident said she heard someone ring her doorbell and before she was able to answer the door, two men using a crowbar tried to break into the house. She was able to describe the vehicle.

Similar thefts are being investigated by South Lake Tahoe and El Dorado County authorities.

Jeffrey Lee Stephens, 44, who was also arrested in October, is scheduled to go to a preliminary hearing on Jan. 17 in East Fork Justice Court on burglary counts.

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The Record Courier Updated Jan 9, 2014 03:41PM Published Jan 7, 2014 02:22PM Copyright 2014 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.