Burglar Falls From Ceiling, Lands In Jail

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Shane Johnson, 27, of Payson was arrested by Gila County Sheriff Detective Brian Havey Dec. 13 in connection with the burglary of four area restaurants.

Three of the burglaries occurred Dec. 10 between Rye and Punkin Center. Havey said Johnson confessed to the Tonto Basin-area burglaries as well as one in Star Valley two months ago.

Johnson is alleged to have broken into two businesses on the night of Dec. 10 when he attempted his third burglary in Punkin Center. Johnson, however, met up with a different kind of alarm system when he dropped through the roof of a local bar and restaurant.

An employee of the restaurant had spent the night in the establishment and was awakened by a loud noise. The employee opened his eyes to see someone fall through the ceiling panels.

When the employee confronted the intruder, a long struggle ensued between the two before the suspect broke loose and escaped through the back door.

Detective Havey said the employee told him he could positively identify the intruder. Havey produced a photo line-up which included a picture of Johnson.

"Johnson was one of the many suspects we were looking at for the burglaries," Havey said. "(The witness) positively identified him."

Havey said Johnson had "cased" the restaurants prior to breaking into them. Johnson's photo was also picked out of a lineup by the employees of two different businesses and identified as having been in the businesses just prior to the burglaries.

"He cased the places prior to the burglaries looking for alarm systems and motion detectors," Havey said.

Havey said Johnson told him that his methamphetamine addiction is what led him to commit the burglaries. Johnson remains in the Gila County jail with a $100,000 bond.

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