Recent burglary crackdown may lead to decline, Sheriff Ken Furlong says

A recent string of burglary arrests has given Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong hope that a trend in those crimes will be slowed.

At 76, the number of burglaries is up 33 percent year to date over 2011. Residential burglaries have doubled to a total of 40. However, with 17 arrests so far, 10 of which have occurred since March, there's hope for a decline, the sheriff said.

"In law enforcement, we are absolutely confident that when we clear a burglary-type offense, even if we don't have proof of priors, it's not (the burglar's) first offense," Furlong said.

Furlong also praised the community for pointing out suspicious activity. Residents' tips led to three recent arrests in which burglars were caught in the act.

"That's really the key," Furlong said. "If I have five to eight police officers on the road, that's all the eyeballs I have. But if we get the community involved and let them know it's not a problem to call it in, that's to our advantage. ... The faster we get (the call), the faster we can get on it."

The impact of burglary on the victims also can be abundantly clear: At a recent sentencing for a burglar, one victim testified that she started carrying a gun after she was burglarized. She then asked the court to throw the book at the burglar, adding that she wished something more severe than prison time could be done.

Furlong said drugs are at the core of much of the crime his department encounters. For example, two recent burglary arrests involved heroin; one of the detainees, a juvenile charged with three counts of felony burglary and one count of felony home invasion, also was charged with possession of heroin. Another recently arrested burglary suspect, 21-year-old William Johnson of Dayton, reportedly told officers that he had broken into Michael Hohl Honda in order to steal money to feed his heroin addiction.

Johnson's arrest also marked the first time a Carson City K-9 officer let his animal off its leash, which Furlong called the most extreme action for those units and one that's done only done after multiple warnings to the suspect. In this case, Johnson had been hiding in the dealership, Furlong said.

"You don't know if he's waiting or waiting to take you out," Furlong said.

During the arrest, the dog bit Johnson's arm. Jail staff described the resulting wound as punctures, not tears, as neither the dog nor Johnson yanked during the bite.


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