EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. - The El Paso County Sheriff's Office on Friday updated the number of cases in a rash of home burglaries to 113 and said most of them happened within the Colorado Springs city limits.
Lt. Jeff Kramer of the EPCSO said investigators determined that while working on 19 break-ins occurring in unincorporated areas of the county near Monument and Black Forest.
"While investigating our cases, we found that a lot of the stolen property came from Colorado Springs," he said. "There's going to be a chance that city residents describe property to us that we don't have yet, or we're going to have property that no one has claimed. So there could be other victims that we don't know about."
Colorado Springs police confirmed on Friday that many of the city-related cases remain under investigation, but Kramer said numerous burglaries happened in the north side Briargate area and the southwest side Broadmoor area.
Seven people were arrested during the past month, accused of stealing more than $100,000 worth of property since the beginning of 2014. Kramer said the EPCSO has returned most of that property to its owners.
The EPCSO said the break in the case came when witnesses began seeing a suspicious person wearing a reflective safety vest near many of the crime scenes.
"They were using people's inherent trust of someone in some kind of uniform," Kramer said. "They exploited that trust and used it to determine homes that were unoccupied at the time."
KRDO NewsChannel 13 spoke with several residents along Rollercoaster Road in Black Forest who said they were unaware of the burglaries. One neighbor said a home in the neighborhood was burglarized a month ago and could have been one of those targeted by the burglary ring.
"It's a bit troubling to hear that," said homeowner Rob Flynn. "It'll probably make me a little more vigilant, watching for suspicious people, check their credentials more often."
Kramer said stolen property from home burglaries often is used to acquire money for illegal drugs.