SHELBYVILLE, Ind (WISH) — Police in Shelby County say a group of masked thieves carrying guns is making their way around the county; breaking into barns, vehicles and even stealing cars.
According to Chief Deputy Louie Koch of the Shelby County Sheriff Department, the suspects have taken tens of thousands of dollars worth of belongings. Koch did not have an exact dollar figure. He says in less than one month, the department has had between 15-16 victims come forward. He also believes the group is hitting surrounding counties also. Koch is hoping the department can find these people before things get worse. It’s a sentiment shared by residents as well.
Many folks in Shelbyville enjoy the quiet life. It doesn’t get any better than a breezy, sunny afternoon with a warm cup of coffee for Dorothy Burchett and her son Yverett.
“(I) sit on my porch most of the time when it’s warm enough to do,” she said.
On that porch, bright flowers aren’t hard to find and wind chimes hang from every angle. It’s picture perfect.
“I’ve been here for 30 years. Ever since, it’s been peaceful and quiet. We got good neighbors,” she said.
But, police say there are some unwelcome guests lurking around Shelby County neighborhoods. They’re breaking into barns, stealing tools, items left in vehicles and four cars were reported stolen, according to Koch.
“Their job is to commit crime. We believe that these suspects are dangerous. They’re stealing guns,” said Koch.
So far, there haven’t been any reports of violent crimes associated with the thefts. But Koch says the suspects are likely adults with drug habits to feed. He says they’re pawning stolen items to feed their addictions and is concerned about how far they will take it.
“Our fear is, your criminal evolves. He needs more. We don’t want it to get there,” said Koch.
Koch has simple advice; keep valuables locked inside your home. But he also wants neighbors to be observant.
“If the car is not supposed to be there, if it just looks out of place, we work for the county. We work for the citizens. Call us. It’s our job,” he said.
Back at the Burchett’s, they’ll keep a watchful eye so they can keep the peace.
“I hope it stays that way another 30 years,” laughed Burchett.
Koch is asking residents to review their surveillance video. If you have anything that could be useful in this investigation, call the Shelby County Sheriff Office at (317) 392-6345.