New Anderson burglary theft unit making impact on crime

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ANDERSON, Ind. -- A new unit in the Anderson Police Department is making significant headway against criminals.

In just a little more than a year since the burglary theft unit was implemented, police are providing a clearer picture of just how much it's cutting crime.

Detectives said the unit is allowing them to solve more cases and find more stolen items. So far this year, they've returned hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of property.

"When you get a burglary like that you don't expect to see anything come back," Kevin Rockhill said.

He owns a lawn care business in Anderson he said is still in business today thanks to police.

"You think why me, what did I do to deserve this?" he said.

Last year, Rockhill said he discovered more than $65,000 worth of equipment that keeps his shop running had been stolen. But in just 24 hours, most of it was recovered thanks to the burglary theft unit.

"That led to a fencing operation that even the people involved, in other words the criminals estimated that there had been about $300,000 worth of property run through a single car garage in a couple months time," Detective Trent Chamberlain said.

Chamberlain, Detective Scott Sanderson and a rotating officer make up the group restarted last year after a rise in crime.

"It's everything. People are breaking into houses, they're breaking into garages, they're stealing trailers, they're stealing cars,"Sanderson said.

Police are targeting and stopping the crimes.

"The system we're working under now allows us to recover a lot more property," Chamberlain said.

In 2016, detectives said they were able to clear more than 400 burglary and theft cases. So far this year, they've found more than $200,000 worth of stolen property.

"That's $213,000 that somebody can't sell off at the pawn shop and then buy drugs with," Chamberlain said.

It's also money returned allowing Rockhill to keep working.

"It didn't stop us because the hard work that they did to get it all recovered," he said.

Detectives said a lot of the credit for the unit's success also goes to three civilian employees working in the office.

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