An alleged burglar who caught the attention of two officers on foot patrol in Red Lion early Tuesday morning is believed to be behind numerous burglaries and thefts in and around the borough, police said.
"They found him out in the middle of the night up to no good ... and his stories weren't matching up," York Area Regional Police Sgt. Jeff Dunbar said.
Allen Wayne Harris Jr., 41, of 155 E. Broadway in Red Lion, was taken to the county's central booking unit on Tuesday and is awaiting arraignment on burglary and theft charges, police said.
York Area Regional officers sometimes conduct foot patrols, "but we've been doing them much more lately ... because of the instances of burglaries," Dunbar said.
Theft spree: Earlier this month, York Area Regional Police warned people in the Red Lion area to keep their vehicles, garages and sheds locked. The warning came in response to a "substantial increase" in the number of burglaries, vehicle thefts and thefts from parked vehicles, Dunbar said at the time.
Items stolen include vehicles, lawn mowers, motorcycles, power lawn equipment, power tools and hand tools, police said. The crimes mainly happened during overnight hours, but some have occurred during the daylight.
And investigators now believe Harris is responsible for a good number of them, according to Dunbar, though perhaps not all of them.
Just before 2:30 a.m., the two officers were walking in the alley behind the first block of South Pine Street in the borough when they spotted Harris, Dunbar said.
"They found a nearby garage that entry had been made into," the sergeant said, and a pile of stole items had been left nearby for the burglar to pick up later.
"Through the investigation, it was determined he was linked to the (burglarized) garage," Dunbar said.
Loot seized: Inside Harris' own garage, police found and seized a large number of items they believe were stolen during the Red Lion theft spree, Dunbar said.
"There's a large amount of tools — power tools and lawn tools and hand tools," he said. "We have a partial motorcycle and a ... minibike."
Dunbar said investigators are still sifting through the cache, trying to match up the property they seized with the owners who reported their property missing.
That might take about two weeks, he said.
'Numerous' crimes: The sergeant said he does not yet know how many burglaries and thefts Harris allegedly committed.
"Until we go through everything and match it all up to who it belongs to, I won't have a number," he said.
But Dunbar said he expects "numerous" thefts will be linked to Harris.
Red Lion-area residents who have been the victims of burglaries or thefts should call police at (717) 741-1259 if they haven't heard from an officer by mid June, Dunbar said.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org.