Couple to enter pleas in burglaries |

Couple to enter pleas in burglaries

Staff Reports
Joseph Winters

A couple accused participating in a series of burglaries waived their rights to a preliminary hearing and are set to enter pleas Jan. 7 in District Court.

Jean Rene Winters, 44, and her husband, Joseph Winters, 48, are charged with three burglaries and one attempted burglary each.

On Wednesday, their attorneys asked East Fork Judge Tom Perkins to vacate preliminary hearings set for Friday.

The Winters couple and codefendant Jeffrey Lee Stephens, 44, are accused of operating a burglary ring in Douglas and El Dorado counties.

They are in custody in Douglas County Jail.

Stephens’ attorney, Michael Novi, told the judge his client was planning to go ahead with a preliminary hearing Jan. 17.

Stephens face the same charges.

The suspects allegedly were caught in the act Oct. 18 at a home in Valley Crest Estates behind Home Depot in northern Douglas County.

Earlier that day they were suspected of breaking into a home in the Foothill area on Lakeside Drive. A print at the scene matched the boot of one of the suspects, according to reports.

Additional charges accuse them of burglaries on Parkview Drive in Indian Hills and Inspiration Drive in Zephyr Cove.

The burglaries reportedly occurred Oct. 11-18.

According to reports, the three were in possession of stolen property when they were arrested.

At the scene was a white 2000 Ford Explorer, described in an earlier burglary attempt in Minden.

On Oct. 12, a woman said she was in her home when two men using a crowbar tried to break into her residence on Esmeralda Avenue through the front door.

The woman called 911 and was able to copy the license number that was traced to a South Lake Tahoe man who reported his plate was stolen that day.

The case is being investigated by DCSO, El Dorado County and South Lake Tahoe law enforcement agencies.

The defendants are suspected of a number of similar daytime break-ins.