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Monday, May 2, 2016

'Law & Order' prevails in local break-in investigation

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Thanks to some of the fastest police work this side of prime-time TV, a pair of Greencastle residents find themselves in the Putnam County Jail, charged with burglary and theft.

In not much longer than it takes for a "Law & Order" episode to air, Greencastle City Police officers Sunday investigated a pair of weekend residential break-ins, arrested two suspects and recovered the loot from their apartment.

The two incidents were reported about an hour apart Sunday after apparently occurring in the overnight hours late Saturday or early Sunday. Regardless, by 12:45 p.m. Sunday, two local suspects had been interrogated and lodged in the jail.

Charged with two counts each of burglary and theft are Amanda Below, 30, and Trevor Hewitt, 26, who were arrested around noon Sunday at Below's Countryplace Apartments residence on the city's South Side.

They have been implicated in a residential break-in on Martinsville Street, reported at 9:06 a.m. Sunday, and another at Countryplace Apartments on Woodhaven Drive. The latter incident was reported at 10:20 a.m. Sunday as GPD officers were still on the scene of the first break-in.

Capt. Mike Hanlon and Officer Darrel Bunten reported that the Martinsville Street residence was entered by breaking through the back door, where intruders reportedly took a large flat-screen TV, jewelry, game consoles, video games and other items.

Det. Randy Seipel said the first victim provided police with the name of Hewitt as a possible suspect. She had reported giving him a ride the day before, and apparently let it be known that she would not be home Saturday night.

When she returned home on Sunday morning, she found her house had been burglarized.

While police were digesting that information, the second victim reported the theft of cash, jewelry, clothes, electronics, video games, shampoo and hairspray from her apartment.

Intruders there, however, left behind two different sets of shoeprints after breaking out a rear window and stepping onto a nightstand to gain entry to the first-floor unit.

The second victim, meanwhile, also offered the name of a possible suspect, fingering Below, a neighbor, as a person of interest.

"And it just so happens," Seipel said in a comment that seemed to cry out for those two uniquely ominous "Law & Order" doink-doink tones for dramatic punctuation, "that Trevor Hewitt lives with her."

When officers then went to Below's apartment, Det. Seipel said they "could see in plain view a TV matching the description of what had been taken, basically sitting right in the doorway."

Hewitt and Below were subsequently taken to GPD headquarters, where it was determined their shoeprints were exact matches for those recovered at the second break-in scene.

Both suspects then gave police "clean-up statements," Seipel said, essentially admitting to the two crimes and consenting to a search of Below's apartment.

There, in an attic space above the unit, police recovered what they believe to be the majority of the stolen items from the two break-ins.

In all, the value of items taken and damage incurred was estimated at $3,000-$4,000 per incident, Seipel said.

While conceding cases don't often fall into place as neatly as this one did, Det. Seipel was nonetheless proud of what he called "good teamwork."

"It was pretty neat," he agreed. "Everything worked out pretty well."

In addition to fellow GPD Officers Bunten and Hanlon, Seipel also singled out Reserve Officer Kyle Lee for his assistance in the investigation.

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