Investigation into break ins ongoing, information needed


Although no break-ins have been reported in Switzerland County during the past week, officers with the Switzerland County Sheriff’s office are still seeking the community’s help in finding those responsible.

“We would just like to pick up where we left off last week,” Switzerland County detective Richard Lock said. “We’re still working on the burglaries everyday. We’re starting to get a little bit of the stuff back, and when we get the stuff back, we also begin to get information that helps us move towards solving these crimes.”

The sheriff’s office is also looking for members of the community to come forward who may have purchased something from a private individual that may have been under suspicious circumstances.

“If they bought anything from any kind of individual over the past few months, and they didn’t buy it from a store and they don’t have a receipt or something like that, they need to give us a call,” Richard Lock said. “We can take a look at it and see if it matches any of the descriptions we have, so that maybe we can get it back to its rightful owners.”

Richard Lock said that the sheriff’s office is also getting stuff back and they aren’t sure where it goes, so officers are now getting some of the victims back into the sheriff’s office to help identify some of the property.

Sheriff Nathan Hughes said that one way that citizens can help fight crime and also help get their items returned when they are stolen is to take the time to identify them. Residents need to write down the serial numbers of items and log them; mark their property in some way; or take photographs of valuables.

Taking some time to inventory property can help officers go a long way towards possibly finding it and returning it.

“We’d really like to stress that people need to start doing that,” the sheriff said. “Get model numbers, serial numbers, and take some photographs.”

Richard Lock said that items that purchasers should contact the sheriff’s office about include things like hand tools, chain saws, and firearms.

Officers also stressed that if a person bought something legitimately, and it turns out to be stolen, the purchaser isn’t in any trouble. Deputies said that the only way they can find new leads is for the community to take a bigger role in helping report odd instances, including any merchandise purchased from individuals.

“No, they aren’t in any trouble,” Richard Lock said. “We just need their cooperation in telling us about when and where they bought it, and who they bought it from. We just need their help.”

“A big way to know if you should call us is price,” Chief Deputy Roy Leap said. “If you’re out there and someone is trying to sell you something like a chain saw for $15-$20, that should send up some red flags. If it’s too cheap, then something is probably wrong.”

Again, officers say that they haven’t made any arrests during the past week, but are confident that some of the leads that citizens have provided are leading them to building a case against the criminals that will stand up in court. They noted that the citizen tip line - 427-4427 - is being used by residents to leave anonymous tips about possible leads; and officers stress that if a person sees something suspicious, they need to call the sheriff’s department at 427-3636; the Vevay Police Department at 427-3737; or simply dial 911.

Allowing officers to be able to respond quickly and timely may mean the difference between catching those responsible or finding a lead that has gone cold.

“It takes time to work these things,” Richard Lock said. “Especially when we need to go different place, different states, to retrieve some of these items. We are trying to see how one thing ties to another, which we hope leads us to those who are responsible.”

Officers said that much of the merchandise that has been recovered is being found in the Cincinnati area, so there is a process for getting items back and then trying to determine who things belong to.

Which brings officers back to the need for the community to catalog and photograph items in their homes.

“It helps us if someone has an actual picture,” Roy Leap said. “You can describe an item all day long with people and they still may not have a good, clear picture of what they’re looking for. If they can give us a picture of the item that was taken, it’s going to help us tremendously. So when we’re doing search warrants of houses looking for items and we have a question, we can refer back to those photos.”

Roy Leap said that leads provided by private citizens and others have been leading to numerous searches trying to find stolen property; with six search warrants being executed in a single day recently.

Richard Lock also said that individuals need to be on the lookout for people who have a “hard luck” story.

“If someone you don’t know is trying to get you to buy something really cheap, they may be telling you that they need gas money or something like that – and we need to be notified,” Richard Lock said. “Again, if the price and the story don’t add up, then something’s wrong and we need to get involved. Even if they don’t buy the item, they still need to alert us. Talk to them, try and get some information, a description of the vehicle the person is driving. Things like that.”

“We’re starting to see the community calling with information and using the tip line,” Roy Leap said. “The community needs to help us in solving these crimes by telling us what they know and what they saw. Someone out there knows who’s doing this, and we need to talk to them.”

“Just give us the information,” Richard Lock said. “That’s all we’re asking - just give us the information and we’ll take it from there.”