Commonwealth Journal

December 20, 2012

Arrest made for thefts from cars

Items taken during night in recent rash

by Heather Tomlinson
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —  

A Pulaski County man was arrested this week in connection with a rash of thefts in the county — and he’s facing additional charges after investigators discovered his alleged connection with thefts in the city limits.
Kyle David Phipps, 23, was arrested Wednesday after detectives with the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department connected him with a series of car break-ins in the Oak Hill, Slate Branch and Bourbon Road areas. 
Pulaski County Sheriff Todd Wood said about 15 unlocked cars had been entered over a two-night period. Not all of them have actually had items taken from them, however; about half of them have had valuables that were being kept inside go missing.
“Sometimes people looked through the cars to see if there was anything they wanted to take,” said Wood. “People indicated they could tell their car had been gone through even though nothing was missing.
“Unfortunately, we have people out all hours of the night, people on foot,” he added. “People are just walking up to residence and simply pulling on (car) doors. They’re not breaking the windows to get inside, they’re just finding unlocked doors and going through the vehicles.”
Items reported stolen include electronics, clothing items, money, hunting equipment and firearms. 
Surveillance video taken of a male using a stolen gift card at a local store led detectives to identify the suspect as Phipps, and they took him into custody at his home at Oxford Apartments in Somerset. 
“Phipps admitted his involvement in the thefts and assisted in the recovery of some of the stolen property, including several handguns,” stated Lt. Det. Brett Whitaker through a press release. 
Phipps was arrested and lodged in the Pulaski County Detention Center. Whitaker said the sheriff’s department charged him with three counts of felony theft of a firearm. 
“We will be adding additional charges as we compile all our cases — which probably are well over 20 different victims,” Whitaker said Thursday in an email to the Commonwealth Journal. 
Whitaker said Phipps may also be connected to several thefts that occurred in the city limits.
Lt. Shannon Smith, with the Somerset Police Department, confirmed that and said his agency has charged Phipps with two additional counts of theft of a firearm.
Smith said Phipps allegedly took a gun from a truck on grand Circle and took another firearm from a residence on Joy Drive. 
“We received inform-ation from Lt. Whitaker ... that Phipps was in custody from an investigation they were working and that he may be involved with more thefts inside the city,” Smith said. 
Wood said there are preventative measures to help keep a similar fate from befalling anyone else — measures that may be even more useful now that everyone is carting items for Christmas to and from different locations. 
“If you’re at home and your vehicle is outside on your property, please secure and lock your vehicles up,” said Wood. “If your vehicle has to be left outside (instead of in a garage), if you can park it outside under or next to a light, that can help. If you can park close enough to your house to where you can hear if people are opening or closing doors, that can help.”