Savannah Police Collar Cat-Burglar - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/11/07

Savannah Police Collar Cat-Burglar

Police narrowed their search after mapping Green's trends. Police narrowed their search after mapping Green's trends.

When you're getting ready for bed, locking up and turning out the lights, you probably feel pretty safe at home.

But that's exactly where police say a criminal's been preying on people.

Officers caught the accused cat-burglar early Thursday morning, after they say he broke into at least eight houses, often while people were sleeping inside.

Police say 20-year old Vernon Green looked a little suspicious riding a bike at 4:30 in the morning loaded down with bags full of stolen electronics.

"He got caught riding my bike. And got pulled over for having no light on it," said burglary victim James Noncek. "And that's what got him caught, so my bike with no light is the hero."

"He was caught pretty much red handed," said Assistant Police Chief Willie Lovett. "He still had some of the equipment, so it was pretty hard for him to deny that he had broken into those houses."

Lovett says Green had just gotten out of the apartment with these laptops, an X-Box 360, and a wireless Internet router, among other things. Lovett says Green's penchant for burglary helped them track him down.

"Criminals are creatures of habit. They basically do the same thing, which is good for us," said Lovett.

Investigators started seeing a trend after they noticed a handful of break-ins cropping up in the same area within just a couple weeks. They quickly put officers in spots they thought he'd try for next.

"Within a few days, our crime analysis unit had put together some maps," explained Lovett.

Because of that, police were at the door of the last break-in before the victims even knew they'd been hit.

"I was thinking to myself 'Why is there a police officer looking for me?'" laughed Noncek's roommate, Chris Schmidt.

Luckily, it was just to return the stolen property.

"I got my stuff back, he got caught. Done deal," said Schmidt. "It's a valuable life lesson that gave me no consequences. I'm very happy with it."

So far, police have recovered close to $100,000 worth of property they say Green stole, including three cars.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite, ccowperthwaite@wtoc.com

 

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