A sheriff's lieutenant says he's working to reunite Douglas County residents with property stolen during recent residential burglaries.
A tip to the Osage County Sheriff's Department has resulted in the recovery of more than $100,000 in property stolen during residential burglaries in Douglas, Osage and Shawnee counties.
While property still is being matched to burglary reports, authorities say that as many as 120 rural burglaries may be tied to the recovered property.
Douglas County Sheriff's Lt. Mike Suitt said property stolen in at least three rural residential burglaries in Douglas County has been identified in the recovered property. He said that three more burglaries also might be cleared.
Most of those burglaries were reported between December and February in the southwest part of the county. One burglary near Big Springs also might be cleared.
Suitt said two Douglas County officers were on hand last Thursday when the property was recovered as search warrants were executed at residences in Wakarusa and the city of Topeka.
He said about 400 items were recovered through the search warrants.
"Osage County, in all reality, the investigator down there was the one who started it,'' Suitt said. "He did 99 percent of the work.''
Osage County Sheriff David Cain said members of a six-county burglary task force assisted in executing the search warrants.
He said two men who are believed to have been responsible for the burglaries are in custody in Shawnee County on unrelated charges. No charges have yet been filed in connection with the burglaries.
Cain said 25 Osage County burglaries have been cleared so far through the investigation. That total could increase to 46. Six Shawnee County burglaries have been cleared through the investigation, Cain said.
"Guns, televisions, VCRs were the choice property,'' said Darrel Manning, an Osage County criminal investigator who has been investigating the burglaries since last October. "Any loose cash lying around was a high probability (of being taken) if they could get it readily. These guys were gun nuts. They liked guns. They've taken handguns, shotguns, rifles, antique guns, military guns, bayonets, just anything that was there."
Douglas County's Suitt said the sheriff's department would notify Douglas County residents once the recovered property is identified as having come from specific burglaries. He also said he had a list of all the recovered property if people have questions on whether property taken from their homes was recovered.