Archive for Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Home burglaries have dipped since summer spike

December 25, 2012


During the summer, Lawrence police urged residents to safeguard their homes following a rash of home burglaries. Burglars were brazenly sneaking and breaking into homes all over the city while residents slept.

In May, June and July, such crimes averaged about one per day. But police records show the crimes have slowed down since.

Police reported 93 aggravated home burglaries between May 1 and July 31, but just 45 between August and the end of October.

Lawrence Police Sgt. Trent McKinley says the decrease is probably the result of several factors, such as intense media coverage and heightened public awareness. That’s led to residents taking more precautions, and criminals being scared off by increased police presence.

“I don’t think there are too many people out there who haven’t heard about it,” McKinley said.

Police and prosecutors have also been able to arrest and convict several burglars who were suspected of committing numerous burglaries this summer.

For instance, police arrested a trio of teen burglars — Markcus Sanders, Cody Barnes and Ronnie Taylor — who were all convicted of several burglaries, but were suspected in more that couldn’t be proven.

Then there’s Ronald Brooks, 32, who was convicted on one count of attempted burglary and sentenced to 25 months in prison.

Police suspected Brooks of scores of other crimes. The problem? They couldn’t prove it, said Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson. “We have to go with what we can prove,” Branson said. “There’s only so much that can be done.”

So they made a deal with Brooks, agreeing not to charge him with other crimes as long as he would show detectives the other homes he burglarized. That helped police close 29 other cases.

Though it may not seem fair that someone who burglarized 30 homes only gets charged with one, it’s the reality of prosecuting burglary cases, said McKinley.

But getting the admissions from Brooks on the other cases allows police to close the cases, freeing them up to focus on other crimes, McKinley said.

With so many unknowns out there about those they've arrested, McKinley said it's difficult to provide any sort of clearance rates on the cases from this summer.

Here’s a recap of other burglary arrests since May:

Markcus Sanders, Ronnie E. Taylor, Cody Barnes: Sanders, 18, pleaded no contest to aggravated burglary and aggravated intimidation of a witness related to the July 15 burglary of a home in the 3900 block of West 10th Place. Four other counts in the case, related to other burglaries in Lawrence, were dismissed. Sanders is scheduled for sentencing Dec. 28.

Taylor, 18, pleaded no contest to one count of aggravated burglary related to a July 12 home invasion in the 1000 block of East 24th Street. Ten other charges in the case were dismissed. He is scheduled for sentencing Dec. 28 as well.

Barnes, 18, pleaded no contest to four charges, including aggravated burglary, two counts of theft and burglary of an automobile. The aggravated burglary charge was related to the July 15 burglary Sanders also pleaded to. Seven additional charges in the case were dismissed. He is scheduled for sentencing Jan. 4.

Austin Lee Whitebird, 19: Pleaded no contest this month to two aggravated burglary charged for entering two Lawrence homes on Aug. 24. He is scheduled for sentencing Jan. 18.

Christopher T. Beard, 38: Pleaded no contest to criminal trespass in November for a September incident in which he broke into a residence in the 3000 block of Oxford Road. According to police, the man was intoxicated and entered the home through an unlocked garage door. He has been sentenced to probation.

William D. Washington, 32: Arrested June 9 and charged in three burglaries; two in the 3400 block of Augusta Drive and one in the 2100 block of Quail Creek Drive. Washington was sent to prison for several Shawnee County convictions, and his local case is pending.

Kristopher Pete McDonald, 37: Arrested for a July 21 burglary in the 3100 block of Tomahawk Drive. McDonald pleaded no contest to one count of burglary and is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 18.

Michael P. Mason, 19: Charged in a November incident in the 2400 block of Louisiana Street, after a resident woke up to find Mason in their apartment taking items. His next court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 19.

Google Map

Burglary map updated

Map shows aggravated burglaries in Lawrence since May 1. The red dots show 86 burglaries between May and the end of August (there were 93 total, but police reports were not available for several). The blue markers indicate the 33 burglaries in September and October. Aggravated burglaries include those where someone is home during the crime. Locations are block and not address specific.

Google form

Burglaries by month

Burglaries reported to Lawrence police by month.


50YearResident 4 years, 11 months ago

Great Story Shaun. We need more just like this. Post arrests, names and convictions. Let the public know who is doing the crimes and what the consequences are for doing them. Keep these storys coming. Thanks.

Matthew Herbert 4 years, 11 months ago

"consequences"? The guy robbed 30 homes and will be charged with one. What'll the punishment be, probation? Until we learn to actually make the consequence worse than the reward, the crimes will continue. How about this: the value of property stolen and damaged will be added up and divided by the minimum wage set by the local jurisdiction. Then the criminal will be made to work that many hours of hard labor for the community. Until that hard labor is fully completed, you remain incarcerated. For instance, you robbed 30 properties causing on average $1,000 in damage or loss at each (that's probably conserative). $30,000 / $7.50/hr = 4,000 hours hard labor. Working 8 hours per day, 7 days per week = 500 days of work/nights of lock up. I believe that to be fair to both the criminal and society.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 11 months ago

"Then there’s Ronald Brooks, 32, who was convicted on one count of attempted burglary and sentenced to 25 months in prison."

Matthew Herbert 4 years, 11 months ago

Add some labor to that and we're on the right path.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 11 months ago

You can increase the level of punishment all you want, but for a certain segment of the population, (one that commits the majority of crimes) it'll have little or no effect on their behavior.

The great majority of people who commit crimes do so because because of some problem in their frontal lobe development, or some injury to that region of their brain. This is the area that allows for impulse control-- an area that isn't fully developed until the early to mid-twenties, which explains why kids, especially teens, can be very impulsive.

So while punitive measures may feel good, the prospect of future negative consequences is most effective on people who are unlikely to commit criminal acts, anyway.

Chris Phillips 4 years, 11 months ago

Hey bozo...just curious..."The great majority of people who commit crimes do so because because of some problem in their frontal lobe development..." I was wondering if this was your opinion or based on a case study. If this is from a study, can you provide the information on that study so I can review it? I am very interested in the basis for that information. Thanks!

Joe Hyde 4 years, 11 months ago

Racking up an incredible nine arrests, each associated with this storm of aggravated burglaries, certainly shows the skill and effort put forth round the clock by LPD's detectives and patrol officers. We should all be very grateful in view of the cumulative harm these burglars might have inflicted on multiple households during the Christmas gift-giving season, had they not been apprehended.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.