It’s been a busy week for Homer Police officers, who have been dealing with a recent rash of burglaries throughout Homer. On October 21st, the TechConnect electronics store on Pioneer Avenue reported that it had been burglarized, with more than $4,500 worth of items missing, including expensive headphones and several Apple products.
Sergeant Larry Kuhns says the investigation caught a break the next day, when an employee at the AT&T store reported an unusual transaction with two customers. According to a criminal complaint filed in Homer court, 36-year-old Crystal Tangman and 22-year-old Brandon Doty had come into the store, requesting information on how to configure a new Apple iPad. The store employee noted that the iPad carried by Tangman and Doty appeared to be new and in its original packaging. The employee had heard via Facebook about the recent burglary at TechConnect, one of only two Homer locations that sells iPads. The employee immediately notified police.
"It's tough to solve a whodunit without some kind of help from the public," said Kuhns. "That's all you generally need."
When interviewed, Tangman told police that she had received the iPad from Doty as a gift but later returned it when she suspected that it had been stolen in the TechConnect burglary.
Doty told police a similar story – that he had bought the iPad from 22-year-old Derek Dour for $150. Kuhns says a new Apple iPad normally retails for around $559.
"When someone receives something at a substantial discount from a non-vendor ... off the street, that should be a pretty good clue," said Kuhns.
Doty, Tangman and Dour are charged with tampering with evidence.
When Homer Police attempted to contact Dour at his East End Road residence, they found evidence of the TechConnect crime, including wrapping from a set of headphones and an instructional booklet for an iPod Nano lying near the driveway. When he was brought in for questioning, Dour allegedly admitted that he had received a stolen iPad from 24-year-old Anchor Point resident Joshua Johnston.
Kuhns says it was Johnston that committed both the TechConnect burglary and a burglary from the Homer Salvation Army thrift store earlier this year.
In another criminal complaint, Johnston allegedly confessed to police that he had stolen a safe containing nearly $2,000 from the Salvation Army. Police found the safe in his Anchor Point home but did not recover any of the money.
Johnston is charged with two counts of Second-Degree Burglary – both felonies.
Kuhns says another arrest in the case was made Friday, when 26-year-old Ashley Dour is alleged to have come into the Homer Jail to visit one of the suspects, carrying with her heroin that she intended to pass on. Dour was searched and arrested at the Homer Jail. She is charged with Misconduct Involving a Controlled Substance.