Car break-ins at Phoenix trailheads lead to 5 arrests - KCTV5

Car break-ins at Phoenix trailheads lead to 5 arrests

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Some of the goods recovered during execution of search warrants. (Source: Phoenix Police Department) Some of the goods recovered during execution of search warrants. (Source: Phoenix Police Department)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Phoenix police arrested five people and recovered a stash of stolen goods in connection with a rash of car burglaries at Phoenix-area trailheads.

Officers and detectives were able to identify the suspects after tracing stolen credit card purchases to retailers, including some online.

Neighborhood Enforcement Team detectives and officers from the Desert Horizon, Mountain View and Cactus Park precincts teamed with police Saturday to execute search warrants.

The suspects worked as a group, with James Bennett and possibly others riding on their bicycles and breaking into the parked vehicles, said Phoenix police spokesman Officer James Holmes.

The suspects would then, either by themselves or with other co-conspirators, make purchases at stores using the stolen credit cards, Holmes said.  Derek Byrski, Barbara Wells and Tina Billings were identified as three such co-conspirators, Holmes said.  

More than 25 women's purses were recovered during the execution of the warrants. Other items, such as receipts tied to stolen credit cards and burglary tools, including walkie talkies, gloves, binoculars, were also discovered. Police also found heroin and marijuana, Holmes said. 

Stephen Ross was arrested for theft of a means of transportation. Ross was found in a car that had been rented with a credit card stolen in one of the burglaries, Holmes said. The car had not been returned to the business and was reported as stolen.

Phoenix Police ask people with information about the burglaries to call Crime Stop at 602-262-6151 or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.

Police are reminding hikers to leave their Purses, laptop computers, credit and social security cards, briefcases, wallets and the like at home or work.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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