INDEPENDENCE -- Police arrested five people Wednesday who may have been members of a burglary ring.
Frank Leroy Copeland, Donald Scott, Shannon Siarot, Rebecca Riggs and Beverly Scott allegedly stole thousands of dollars worth of tools, sporting goods and other items from private homes.
The arrests came after police searched four storage units at 590 Hoffman Road and a residence at 224 C St., uncovering the stolen goods.
Burglary rates in Independence soared last month. There were only 29 burglaries in Independence in the year 2000. In late November and early December 2001, at least nine burglaries occurred in a three-week period.
"Seeing this spike in burglaries was a clear indication to police that there was an active burglary ring working the community," said Sgt. Pete Roy.
Some of the burglaries were at downtown businesses, while others were of private homes and outbuildings. This led officers to believe that there were two different groups of criminals.
Four men were arrested before Christmas in connection with burglaries at Lenora's Ghost and other businesses. Police believe the people arrested Wednesday were stealing from private houses, garages and sheds.
Copeland, 38, was charged with first- and second-degree theft and possessing less than an ounce of marijuana.
Donald Scott, 34, was charged with burglary, first-degree theft, criminal mischief, criminal trespassing and possessing a controlled substance.
Siarot, 29, was arrested on a statewide arrest warrant as well as for possessing a controlled substance. Riggs, 34, was arrested for possessing a controlled substance and violating her probation.
Beverly Scott, 33, was arrested for possessing a controlled substance.
A sixth man who is a suspect in both the business and home burglaries, is still at large.
Roy said he anticipates more charges and additional arrests as the investigations continue.