KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City police say four brazen burglars are finally behind bars – criminally charged in a ring that's targeted homes in Waldo, Brookside and Santa Fe Hills for the past month.
Detectives exclusively told FOX 4 that security video recorded using a doorbell cameras helped them connect the dots, while community support helped them crack the case.
These four men are now charged with burglary: Chrizion Banks, Shalquan Wade, Richard Jones and Joshua Nelson. Nelson is a convicted felon who in 2015 pleaded guilty to burglary on the other side of the state line, and was released from the Kansas Department of Corrections in September.
Investigators said the group hit countless houses in South Kansas City, using the same M.O. of knocking on doors to determine which homeowners were gone, then kicking in the door to steal electronics, jewelry and other valuables.
Several times, doorbell cameras like Ring caught them in the act and sent an alert to the homeowner’s phone in real-time.
“I knew about three or four that happened within the past month up our block,” said Karen Gingerich, whose next door neighbor on Charlotte Street in Brookside was burglarized on Thursday.
“We have great neighbors,” she continued, “but still there had been such a rash of incidents that it was starting to pile up and we were just feeling more fearful.”
Those concerns were heard by William Richter, the lead KCPD detective on the case.
“It made them all concerned and worried and jumpy anytime they saw a vehicle that didn`t fit in the neighborhood,” Richter said. “We were definitely being aware of it.”
Richter said community involvement was an essential part of the investigation.
“That was our eyes and ears that was pointing us in the right direction that we need to go,” he said.
The help continued when people began flooding his office with calls and videos, often recorded by motion-censored security cameras.
“We`ve noticed that with all the exterior cameras, the doorbells, the interior, or whatever version they are,” he said, “it does help us speed up the process of identifying and linking sprees together.”
It was a team effort that helped police finally nab the suspects on the same day the men allegedly broke into Kathy’s Brookside home.
“It`s just sad that there are people that rely on this sort of thing to eke out a life,” Kathy said.
It was Kathy’s next door neighbors that saw the burglars in action and quickly called police. Officers patrolling the area were able to make a car stop and bring the men into custody.
“I know that they’ve been trying to catch these guys for a long time,” Kathy said, “and had it not been for my neighbor who saw these people and could identify them, that they probably wouldn’t be in the situation that they are now.”
Kathy said the recent arrests now bring a renewed sense of safety to her Brookside neighborhood.
“You don`t mess with Charlotte Street, I can tell you that!” she said. “And I would say, ‘Don`t mess with Brookside. Don`t mess with Waldo.’ We watch out for each other.”
Detective Richter said this investigation is far from over, as he anticipates finding more victims and perhaps asking prosecutors to file more charges in the near future.