Over the course of a month, more than 20 vehicles were burglarized around the Piney Forest area of Danville. Purses were snatched, wallets were grabbed and other items of value disappeared from cars and trucks parked in the area.

In some cases windows were smashed, police said, and in other instances vehicles that were left unlocked became a crime of opportunity.

Police were alerted, a court document states, and began directed patrols of the area. During one patrol Sept. 4, officers spotted two men walking behind a Piney Forest Road convenience store at 10:25 p.m.

The two men ran, according to a search warrant, with one man dropping a black book bag. Officers reported finding “multiple hand tools,” including cutters, hammers and latex gloves, a criminal complaint filed in Danville General District Court states.

Officers later arrested and charged a Danville man with misdemeanor possession of burglary tools, according to the complaint, but he has not been charged in the burglaries. He is being held in the Danville City Jail.

The book bag also contained needles, a baggie with residue and digital scales with residue, all items “consistent with drug use,” one search warrant states.

He was already a suspect in the case because he “has a history of theft related charges,” a search warrant filed in Danville Circuit Court states.

The man “was known as a person of interest in the larcenies in the area, due to the recent spike in larcenies and the fact that he moved to the area recently,” Sgt. J.A. Pulley wrote in the criminal complaint.

The other man, also a suspect in the investigation, was detained by police but has not been charged with a crime. He had a camera bag with a camera, a needle and drug residue inside, states another search warrant filed in Danville Circuit Court.

The break-ins began Aug. 1 and continued through early September, police report.

“The majority of cars were unlocked with valuables out [in plain sight],” said Lt. Richard Chivvis, of the Danville Police Department. “Some windows were broken too.”

Avent is a reporter with the Danville Register & Bee. Reach him at (434) 797-7983.

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Avent is a reporter with the Danville Register & Bee. Reach him at (434) 797-7983.

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