WARREN - After investigating the tactics of thieves for close to a half century, Maj. Tom Stewart said he knows the amount of networking that goes into not only catching the ''bad guys,'' but also tracking down and recovering the stolen property.
The detective with the Trumbull County Sheriff's Office said information has to be traded with surrounding departments. And a lot of times, the law enforcement officers could use some help.
On Wednesday, Stewart was in communication with Stark County authorities who arrested two Akron-area men - Robin Edgington, 43, and Seth Startos, 18 - in connection to a burglary in Norton Township.
''They're in Stark County Jail now, but we have information that connects them with burglaries in the Newton Falls and Southington area,'' said Stewart, who now has to match up where the home break-ins occurred with what was taken and where the property went.
Nowadays, more and more guns and jewelry are ending up in the hands of drug dealers, who exchange the stolen property for heroin, he said. Other stolen goods find their way to pawn shops or local precious metals dealers, where thieves collect a fraction of the value of what they steal.
''We don't have a real problem with pawn shops. There are rules in place that govern those operations. But at some of the precious metals dealers, more questions have to be asked. When a young man in his 20s shows up with $16,000 worth of jewelry and says he wants to sell it because his aunt has died, it should raise some red flags,'' Stewart said.
''They're not obligated to call. But it would sure help,'' he said.
Earlier this month, the Sheriff's Office and Champion police were helped by a local gun dealer who happened to recognize part of a $20,000 collection of guns that a couple was trying to sell him. He knew the firearms were stolen from a Bloomfield home. The dealer managed to copy down serial numbers of the guns and then led the authorities to another gun shop where the weapons were attempting to be sold.
Champion police arrested Michael Matthew, 23, and Kimberly Doggett, 22, both of College Street, West Farmington. They pleaded not guilty in Warren Municipal Court to charges of receiving stolen property and were bound over Tuesday to a Trumbull County grand jury for further consideration of charges.
Stewart said all of the rifles have been returned to the owner by Champion officers. The handguns are still missing.
Keeping an accurate inventory or guns, jewelry and valuables is key, Stewart said.
Also this week, three suspects wanted in connection with a Newton burglary were arrested at gunpoint during a traffic stop.
Randall Rine, 22, of Virginia Drive, Champion, Christopher Macaluso, 25, and Timothy Grimes, 45, both of Center Street South, Champion, were arrested on burglary charges. They have pleaded not guilty in Newton Falls Municipal Court and are scheduled for a preliminary hearing next week.