Lawrence police bust home burglary team, recover hundreds of stolen items from dozens of cases
photo by: Kansas Department of Corrections
When Lawrence resident Anders Wibskov was out of state visiting family the weekend before Thanksgiving, he got some uninvited visitors of the worst kind.
Burglars broke down his back door, and cleaned house.
They took his car keys, his car, TVs, a camera, computers, other electronics, his wife’s credit cards, sentimental Christmas things and all their wine.
“Even down to my old football jerseys,” Wibskov said, “and my old tennis shoes, and suits.”
It wasn’t the first time this year that those burglars had struck Lawrence homes, police say, but it should be the last.
Lawrence police announced this week that they arrested two men and recovered hundreds of stolen items linked to dozens of residential burglaries in town since this spring.
Brian L. Farrar, 33, and Jonathan J. Collins, 33, both of Lawrence, have been arrested. Police say they aren’t looking for other suspects.
Farrar was arrested Thursday on suspicion of multiple home burglaries, police said. Collins was arrested Nov. 20 on an unrelated warrant, and remains in custody with new burglary charges forthcoming, police said.
Police executed three separate search warrants to recover the large amount of stolen items, according to Friday’s news release from the Lawrence Police Department.
However, the investigation remains ongoing and police urge potentially affected residents to call them at 785-832-7509. That includes people who previously reported a residential burglary and have since obtained serial or other identifying numbers for missing property they didn’t have earlier. It also includes victims of residential burglaries who didn’t previously report them.
Wibskov, who lives just southeast of 23rd and Iowa streets, said his house being ransacked was a “crummy” situation.
On the bright side, he said, he had time to let it sink in before he arrived home from vacation. He’s grateful a neighbor saw the front door hanging open, knew something was amiss, and reported the situation. Then police called Wibskov to let him know.
“There are definitely great people out there who are willing to make sure everybody they know is OK,” Wibskov said. “We had essentially a six-hour drive home to have a little buffer time … In the meantime, the police were able to find the car, we were able to get ahold of our handyman and got the back door fixed — it’s solid — and got the insurance train rolling.”
As for the suspects, their criminal records show that neither one is new to burglarizing.
Farrar has served prison time for burglary and theft convictions in Douglas, Franklin, Wyandotte and Johnson counties dating back to 2003, according to Kansas Department of Corrections records. His convictions also include possession of opiates.
Farrar’s most recent sentence expired just under a year ago, KDOC records indicate.
Collins went to prison for home and auto burglaries he committed in Douglas County in 2013 and 2016, according to KDOC records. He was on parole but absconded this summer.
Collins’ arrest last week was on more than one local warrant, according to jail and Douglas County District Court records.
One was for a home burglary and theft earlier this year in the 900 block of Crestline Drive, where he allegedly stole a bicycle, computer, musical instruments and electronics, according to the complaint. Another was for failing to appear at a court hearing in a drug case, in which he’s charged with possession of methamphetamine and marijuana, according to that complaint.