Boys arrested in North County burglary spree

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OCEANSIDE, Calif. — Two boys were in custody Wednesday and three of their cohorts were expected to join them soon in connection with a quick-succession spree of residential burglaries in neighborhoods in Oceanside.

The Oceanside Police Department began getting a flurry of 911 calls about home break-ins or suspected prowlers in the area of Melrose Drive and North Santa Fe Avenue near Guajome Regional Park about 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, OPD Lt. Leonard Cosby said.

Over the next hour, dispatchers received a total of 109 reports of home- invasion crimes on Crestview Drive, Hollins Road, Powell Road, Sable Court, Sagewood Drive and Sunbright Drive.

“At one point, residents in the area reported a burglary in progress,” Cosby said.

Officers searched for the thieves into the evening hours with help with a sheriff’s helicopter crew. About 8:30 p.m., the personnel found two suspects, ages 12 and 17, trying to hide in a neighborhood on Powell Road and arrested them without incident. The youths were booked into juvenile hall.

Valuables stolen during the crimes were located in backpacks and plastic bags hidden in bushes near the victims’ residences, the lieutenant said. The recovered items included cash, jewelry, electric tools, video-game equipment and a collection of Zippo cigarette lighters.

Two stolen shotguns were found buried in a field off North Santa Fe Avenue, Cosby said.

Police subsequently identified three other boys believed to have taken part in the burglaries. They were expected to be in custody in short order, the lieutenant said late this morning.

The suspects are all Oceanside or Vista residents ranging in age from 12 to 17. Their names were withheld because they are minors.

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