Pine Burglary Suspect Caught

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by charlene hunt

roundup staff reporter

A 15-year-old Strawberry juvenile has been arrested and charged with the burglary of the Black Bear Restaurant.

The burglary occurred in the early morning hours of Sunday, Nov. 25. The juvenile is suspected of breaking into the restaurant and taking a large amount of cash. Some of the money was recovered from the suspect at the time of arrest.

Gila County Sheriff Detective George Ratliff said he is continuing the investigation to determine if the juvenile acted alone.

Additionally, there have been more than two dozen burglaries, including seven businesses in the area over the last three months. Ratliff said he will be questioning the teenager further to determine if had any involvement in those burglaries.

Ratliff said some of the burglaries are frustrating because the homeowners do not have serial numbers for their stolen items and often can't remember what they had.

"People can't even tell us what brand their TV was, much less a serial number," Ratliff said.

He strongly recommended that homeowners log their serial numbers on their electronic equipment and all other items.

"Don't leave valuables, such as jewelry, laying around the house where someone can easily walk off with it," Ratliff said.

According to Ratliff, the burglar is concentrating on cash and small items that can be concealed on them.

The juvenile also was charged with possession of stolen property a Honda quad. The perplexing part of the case is the Sheriff's Department does not know who the quad belongs to.

"We know it's stolen, based on our investigation, however, it remains unreported," Ratliff said. "We have had it in our impound yard since October."

Ratliff said a deputy made contact with the juvenile burglary suspect while he was riding the quad in October. He admitted it was not his, however, they have not been able to determine from where it was stolen.

It is not uncommon to have thefts and burglaries go unreported for months at a time in the Pine-Strawberry area as many of the homes and cabins are seasonal and the owners do not discover a break-in or theft until they visit their summer home.

If you have any information regarding the Honda quad or any of the burglaries, you are asked to contact Ratliff at the sheriff's department, 474-2208.

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