Eight days after they formed a burglary task force, Lawrence police have identified five people who are suspected of several break-ins, including a Topeka man believed to be involved in at least 20 local burglaries.
Lawrence Police Chief Ron Olin said this morning that he was seeking a Douglas County arrest warrant for Albert Thomas, 41, Topeka, who was arrested by Topeka police Wednesday on a parole violation. Local police suspect Thomas of committing a string of local burglaries that date back to November.
Thomas, Olin said, has been arrested several times over the last 20 years for burglary in Lawrence.
"This to us is a major breakthrough . . . with the arrest of Mr. Thomas," he said.
Olin said the task force was organized in response to a rash of break-ins since the beginning of the year. Since Jan. 1, police records show that 246 burglaries or attempted burglaries have been reported.
And he is not acting alone, he said. At least three others have been working with Thomas, Olin said.
Olin said he believes Thomas is linked to a northwest Lawrence crack house that officers raided in February, Olin said. Olin has said that the drug trade in Lawrence is tied to several crimes, such as robbery and burglary.
Several suspects are in custody either in Lawrence or in other cities on charges unrelated to the Lawrence burglaries, Olin said. He declined to give their names until arrest warrants are secured.