For a band of burglars that admitted to targeting at least one off-campus residence — but is suspected of hitting several more — six might have been their unlucky number.
The quartet had already robbed at least five off-campus homes and gotten away with it before they tried to rob a sixth, Columbus Division of Police Commander Christopher Bowling said. But it was during this sixth attempted robbery when the bandits were caught red-handed.
“The next thing we know is we’ve got at least one burglary, which multiplied up to at at least six,” Bowling said. “Whether there are more or not, I don’t know.”
CPD officers arrested three of the four suspects in the burglary ring early one October morning. They placed 18-year-old Preston Wilbur and 20-year-old Shay Stuck under arrest for breaking into a home at 444 E. 16th Ave. and stealing an iPad mini and an iPhone, according to a Columbus Police web report. Someone who lived in the burglarized home had noticed Wilbur and Stuck in the area and confronted the pair about it, according to the report.
Another of the burglary-suspects-in-question, 19-year-old Ashley Martin, was found just a few blocks away inside a stationary vehicle with an open container.
Bowling said investigators began questioning the trio about the robbery, and that’s when they realized this wasn’t an isolated incident.
“It was basically after our detectives interviewed them and starting getting them to admit certain things that we started realizing how many more they had done,” Bowling said.
All three suspects admitted in questioning that they had burglarized the home on East 16th Avenue, according to a Columbus Police press release.
Days after they interviewed those three suspects, officers apprehended a fourth suspect — whom The Lantern has not named because he is a juvenile — in connection with the robberies, according to a CPD press release.
In most of the cases, the alleged ring of burglars would typically hit homes in the early morning hours of the day, Bowling said. Other homes they reportedly hit were located on East 12th Avenue, East 13th Avenue, East 14th Avenue and North 4th Street, according to the CPD press release.
In 2013, a total of nine campus and three non-campus burglaries were reported, according to the 2014 annual campus security report. That same year, a total of five campus and three non-campus robberies were reported.
The juvenile suspect was charged with six counts of burglary, three counts of felony theft and one count of misdemeanor theft.
Law enforcement is seeking direct indictment — where the case goes straight to trial and circumvents the preliminary hearing — against the other three suspects.
Stuck and Wilbur are charged with one count of burglary each, according to a search on the Franklin County Municipal Court website.
Both Stuck and Wilbur are scheduled to be in court Friday.