Police credit alert neighbors in 2 communities for helping catch accused burglars

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by 13 News

WVEC.com

Posted on February 1, 2013 at 12:34 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 8:02 PM

NEWPORT NEWS -- Officers say a call from a watchful neighbor led them to arrest 3 people accused of burglarizing 2 homes in 2 days.

Tuesday afternoon officers responded  to a possible burglary of a home 300 block of Marlboro Road. 

A caller said he had seen 2 people go into the back of the house then leave, carrying a white boxlike object. The caller added a brown pick-up truck pulled up and drove off with the people. 

Detectives in an unmarked police car were in the area of Jefferson Avenue and Operations Drive when they saw a truck matching the description.

The detectives followed the truck until marked police units arrived. The police stopped the truck at Hogan Drive and Jefferson Avenue shortly after 12:30 p.m. and took 3 people into custody. Officers found a white safe in open view in the bed of the pick-up truck.

The burglary victim was contacted and went to the scene and identified the safe as her property.

Police arrested Benjamin O. Harris, 32, of the 5900 block of Andrew Place in Newport News, James Lee, 25, of the 12300 block of Raynor Road in Smithfield and James Batchelor, 20, of the 1000 block of North Avenue in Newport News.

The victim's daughter told 13News Thursday, "I mean, it really has shaken us up, just to know that you've been violated, somebody came into your house when you're not here, and, then, to know it's somebody you know really makes it, like, wow."

The daughter was referring to Benjamin, or "Bo," Harris, whom she knew.

Harris, also, had a connection to victims of a burglary that took place Monday on Clipper Drive.

Darlene and Keith Strayer didn't realize it initially, but found out Harris went to school with their children and had been inside their home more than a decade ago.

"They actually used our suitcases that were in our room and filled them up with absolutely everything, anything and everything that was movable," Darlene Strayer shared.

A neighbor who saw people walking out of the Strayers' house called 9-1-1 and was able to provide police with several details.

Officers said when they arrested Harris, Lee, and Batchelor Tuesday, they recovered items linking the trio to the Strayers' home.

"We all try to keep an eye on one another like that, and I think that's why we've stayed in this neighborhood 32 years," Strayer said.

Newport News police encourage anyone in the city or elsewhere who may have been the victim of a burglary and who knows any of the people charged contact the detective handling his/her case.

 

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