BELPRE - The recent rash of burglaries in Parkersburg and the rash of burglaries over the past few months in Belpre are suspected to be related, officials said Tuesday.
A total of 23 burglaries and attempted burglaries were reported by Belpre Police from Oct. 15, 2013 through March 15 of this year, said Patrolman K.A. Nichols with the Belpre Police Department.
"The majority of the burglaries (in Belpre) had the same MO (mode of operations)," said Nichols.
This announcement comes on the heels of more than 20 burglaries reported in Parkersburg in the past five weeks, said Sgt. Greg Nangle with the Detective Bureau of the Parkersburg Police Department last week.
Similarities exist between the Belpre cases and the Parkersburg cases, said Parkersburg Police Chief Joseph Martin.
The Belpre Police reported 15 burglaries suspected to be directly related to each other, with a handful of attempted break-ins that were reported and prevented, sharing related beginning attempts, Nichols said.
The majority of Belpre burglaries occurred after the suspects observed someone leaving the home, Nichols said Tuesday. A suspect then knocked on the door to determine if anyone else was home, he said.
If no one answered the door, the suspect would break into the home, Nichols said. These robberies focused on small items, mainly jewelry taken from jewelry boxes in bedrooms and cash that was lying in the open, Nichols said.
The Parkersburg cases reported over the past five weeks have seen suspects knocking on doors to case a house, police said.
A variety of small items were taken in the Parkersburg burglaries, including jewelry, cash and guns.
Several incidents have occurred in other areas, but most of the burglaries have been north of 23rd Street in Parkersburg, officials said.
Police believe the suspect in the Parkersburg cases goes door-to-door, knocking to see if anyone is at home. When the door is not answered, the home is marked as a potential target.
It is too early to make a direct connection among the Parkersburg cases, but officers are continuing to follow up on information developed as part of recent interviews and investigations, Martin said.
Belpre Police suspect that the recent rash of burglaries in the Parkersburg area may be related to the previous cases in Belpre, Nichols said.
The most recent case in Belpre occurred in the 100 block of Elm Street in early March, Nichols said. A homeowner who did not answer the door after someone knocked reported the person knocking then attempted to break through her front door, Nichols said.
The suspect fled on foot from the scene, Nichols said.
Craig Ryan Clark, 28, of 32 Forrest Ave. was arrested by Parkersburg Police on Sunday in relation to the Parkersburg burglaries, Martin said. He provided investigators with new information and opened up additional avenues of investigation regarding recent burglaries in north Parkersburg, Martin said.
Clark was arraigned Sunday in Wood County Magistrate Court on a felony charge of burglary and his bond was set at $25,000. According to magistrate court records, Clark was released on bond Monday and a preliminary hearing has been scheduled for April 11.
On Dec. 23, Belpre Police arrested Corey Bock, charging him with one count of burglary and one count of theft, according to records from the Washington County Sheriff's Office.
Bock failed to post bond and has been housed in the Washington County Jail since his arrest, according to records.
The investigation that let to Bock's arrest was conducted by the Belpre Police, the Washington County Sheriff's Office, the Wood County Sheriff's Office, the Parkersburg Police Department and the Vienna Police Department, Nichols said.
Bock's fingerprints, as well as DNA left at the scene in blood after cutting himself while entering a home through a broken window, have connected him to "multiple burglaries in the Mid-Ohio Valley," Nichols said.
The Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Ohio performed DNA match testing on blood samples, Nichols said.
The majority of burglaries in Belpre ended after Bock's arrest, Nichols said. However, occasional cases do continue, leading Belpre Police to believe Bock was not acting alone in the burglaries, he said.
The Parkersburg Police Department confirmed it sent personnel to Belpre to assist in the processing of various crime scenes related to a rash of burglaries, said Martin.
"We have a good relationship with the other law enforcement agencies in the valley," Martin said. "After all, we are all working toward the same goal of putting the bad guys away," he said.
Investigations are ongoing in Belpre and in Parkersburg, officials said.
Anyone with information about a previous burglary, and anyone observing suspicious activity, is asked to call 911 or the respective police department with information, officials said.
The Belpre Police Department can be reached at 740-423-7631. The Parkersburg Police Department can be reached at 304-424-8444.