Updated Fri, Jun 13, 2014 8:00 am
Two search warrants filed in Athens County Common Pleas helped police investigate some of the burglaries that have been reported to the Athens Police Department over the past several months. But investigators say they haven’t made as much progress as they hoped.
Search warrants were executed on the cellphone of Patrick Furr and property of Daniel McKibben, both of whom were indicted on burglary charges in May.
The search warrants, filed June 6 with the courts but executed on May 21, were requested by the Athens police to seek evidence of the alleged commission of burglary and possession of criminal tools.
Furr and McKibben were being investigated in relation to alleged burglaries on Lancaster, East State, Mill and Palmer Streets. Previous evidence gathered had also allegedly linked McKibben to prior crimes.
During police interviews, the two men also allegedly admitted to planning the crimes with McKibben allegedly identifying Furr as an accomplice.
“Furr admitted to officers that he and McKibben were working together to break into houses in the Athens area,” the warrant alleges.
Officer Brian Follrod wrote that he believed “that Furr used his cellular device to contact other co-conspirators in this crime.”
Both men were indicted on May 9 in Athens County Common Pleas Court for second-degree felony burglary, which was allegedly committed on or about May 7. McKibben also had an indictment for two counts of third-degree felony burglary filed against him on March 10, for crimes allegedly committed on or about Jan. 26. For those charges, McKibben was charged with another man, Ryan Bagley.
In a search warrant filed on McKibben prior to the most recent warrants, police seized a yellow Nissan and found miscellaneous tools, a coin purse, cellphone chargers, a GPS unit, a MacBook pro laptop and other materials. Owners were called in to identify their property and it was returned after a positive identification had been made.
“The evidence recovered from McKibben’s vehicle links McKibben to several other burglaries and other vehicles that were illegally entered,” Fullrod wrote in the search warrants. “McKibben and Furr are believed to be involved in several other burglaries in the Athens area.”
But Lt. Jeff McCall of the Criminal Investigations Unit for Athens police said clearing some cases hasn’t slowed down the onslaught of burglaries the city has been seeing.
“Unfortunately if we do apprehend one (alleged burglar), there’s someone out there replacing him,” McCall said.
The police are trying to link the properties reported to have been burglarized and stress the need for public help to solve the crimes. McCall couldn’t say how many burglaries they thought were linked to McKibben and Furr, or whether their arrest would help stem the amount of burglaries in town.
“We’re not getting much in the way of information and we’re working on limited evidence,” McCall said, adding that part of the issue in solving the crimes is people reporting burglaries weeks after they may have occurred, either because they weren’t home or didn’t notice missing items.
“I was hoping it would slow down with the students out for the summer but it hasn’t,” McCall said.
Pre-trial hearings are scheduled for June 17 in McKibben’s March and May cases. A $50,000 bond was set at a May 21 hearing on the latest case.
Bagley is scheduled to change his plea in the case on June 25.
Furr is scheduled to have a pre-trial hearing on July 21. He remains out on a recognizance bond.