By Orko Manna
June 15, 2017
AMES – Ames Police are warning everyone to lock their doors, after dozens of burglaries throughout the city - this month alone.
Police say there have been around 30 burglaries in Ames since June 1st. The stolen items range from expensive tool sets to high-end clothing - and even some car keys.
The good news is that thousands of dollars worth of those stolen items have been found. Police say it is all thanks to some local businesses and a savvy online system.
"Just about anything that's not nailed down it seems like gets stolen," said Cmdr. Geoff Huff with the Ames Police Department.
Ames Police say the rash of burglaries the past couple weeks are because garages and car doors and not being locked.
"This is the time of year that people go on vacation, so you leave town, so you've got to be really careful and how you do that," Cmdr. Huff said. "Make sure everything is locked and secure before you leave."
Police have already recovered more than $30,000 worth of the stolen property. And around $5,000 of that is because of an online system called LeadsOnline.
"It really helps us out in these investigations," Cmdr. Huff said.
Police are able to find recent items that have been pawned by searching for their serial number. Then, they can track them down to where they were sold.
"This was one of the larger ones because there was a lot of property that was identified," Cmdr. Huff said.
Police say the suspects cashed in the stolen goods at local pawn shops - including Express Pawn. And that is when the businesses step in to help.
Store manager Tina Cuffe says with every sale they make, they plug in data that gets sent through the LeadsOnline system.
"We report everything, your information and the description of whatever items you bring, to the police, and that gives them the opportunity to make sure that everything is on the up and up," Cuffe said. "For us, it's really great to be able to build that relationship with the police department."
And police feel the same way.
"At times like this, you see the benefit," Cmdr. Huff said. "They're absolutely our partners in this and we couldn't do it without their help."
Police are still working to recover more of the stolen items, and they are also looking into how many of these recent burglaries are connected. They do believe there is more than one person behind the thefts.
Police were able to get good suspect descriptions through the LeadsOnline system, as well. They expect some arrests in the next few days.