December 20, 2005
Albemarle County police say they've broken up a large burglary ring that extended from the city of Charlottesville to Louisa County.
Police say there have been more than 20 construction sites hit by these burglars. An investigation that started over the summer ended recently with three local men arrested for numerous burglaries from the construction sites. Police believe they are responsible for stealing thousands of dollars worth of items from homes located near the sites.
"They would find these locations and they would come back at a later time and they would steal home appliance," said Albemarle County Police Lt. Greg Jenkins. "It's certainly going to clear up a lot of breaking-and-enterings...that we had in the past,
One of the construction sites hit was Saint Charles Place in Charlottesville. Constructions workers there said the burglars caused a lot of damage.
"When they were trying to get the dishwashers, all the hoses broke and flooded the house, leaked into the basement," said one construction worker.
Police said Kip Draper and his nephew Brian are responsible for stealing appliances like stoves, refrigerators, and microwaves as well as construction tools. Police say Jerry Wingfield conspired with these men and received stolen property.
"The property that has been recovered--and this is a conservative estimate--is in the neighborhood of $50,000 to $100,000 dollars," said Jenkins.
Detectives from Charlottesville and Albemarle said they filled two 71/2" by 18" trailers with stolen goods. Police returned more than half of what was found to its owners.
"This is every cop's best Christmas gift--when you can return stolen property to the victims of Albemarle and Charlottesville and the other surrounding counties," said Albemarle County Police Lt. John Teixeira.
The investigation into this string of burglaries continues. Police are still searching for Tim Proffitt, a man they believe is involved. Also, police say they expect Fluvanna, Louisa and Greene County Police to file charges against these men soon.
83 of 145 recovered items have already been returned to their rightful owners and police are hoping to return the rest of the merchandise soon. They're asking home owners who have filed police reports to call 434-296-5807 for more information.