West Memphis police bust 9 teens in burglary ring

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. -- A year-long burglary ring that saw 15 homes broken into is over after West Memphis police arrested nine teenagers they say were responsible.

Six of the arrests took place last week, but none of the suspects' names are being released since they are juveniles.

John Foster told WREG the teens broke into his home on Colonial Drive two weeks ago and stole several guns as well as some jewelry.

"They tore up a couple of doors getting in, and they came over the back fence," said Foster.

Police said all of the burglaries took place in the northwest part of town during the day when the homeowners were home. They said none of them were at homes with security doors or working alarm systems.

"They were scared of getting caught is what each one of them told us. They didn't want any encounter with the homeowner or police," said Capt. Joe Baker with the police department.

Police weren't able to gather enough evidence to charge the teens with the burglaries -- yet. Instead, they opted to charge them for other crimes in order to get them off the streets.

"We had a robbery charge we could bring against several. A battery charge against one, a rape against another," said Baker.

News of the burglaries spread quickly in recent weeks, striking fear in the hearts of many homeowners.

"I know they said that they were during the daytime, so I'm here most of the time, but I did worry about it," said homeowner Elaine Janos.

Police plan to address residents' concerns about crime at a meeting Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the Richland Elementary cafeteria. But they added that the burglaries are not part of any uptick in crime.