Suspected serial burglar indicted on nearly 5 dozen felony chargesPosted: Updated:
A grand jury has indicted a Gilbert man on nearly five dozen felony counts in connection with a string of residential burglaries throughout the Phoenix metro area.
Investigators believe Karl Byron Stephens, 48, stole more than $3 million worth of property, including jewelry and guns, in crimes that go all the way back to 2010.
The investigation began in early 2016 when detectives in Paradise Valley noticed similarities in a number of burglaries. They shared that information with the Scottsdale Police Department, prompting the two agencies to launch a joint investigation.
“This information sharing led to the identification of Stephens as a possible suspect,” according to Detective Sgt. Mike Horn of the Paradise Valley Police Department. “Scottsdale Police identified related crimes involving Stephens dating back as far as 2010, and as recently as June of 2016. Police learned that Stephens had left the Valley and went to Las Vegas, NV in June of 2016.”
As investigators continued to dig, they discovered burglaries similar to those in Paradise Valley and Scottsdale had happened in Las Vegas while Stephens was there.
The team alerted the Las Vegas Metro Police Department. Officers there arrested Stephens on June 25 as he fled the scene the scenes of three residential burglaries, Horn said. Stephens had property from those burglaries in his possession.
“Scottsdale and Paradise Valley Police recovered extensive evidence after executing search warrants
on Stephens’ residence, place of business, storage unit and a relative’s residence,” Horn explained. “Police contacted victims in this series of burglaries from Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Phoenix and Tempe. A number of their stolen items have been positively identified and returned to them.”
In all police, have connected Stephens to 25 criminal cases resulting in 57 felony counts, including theft greater than $25,000, possession of burglary tools, identity theft and possession of marijuana.
Stephens has been held at the Clark County Jail since his arrest. He has a court hearing in Las Vegas later this month. Charges he faces there include burglary, home invasion, possession of burglary tools and grand larceny.
“Stephens is also being held on a probation violation warrant stemming from a 2014 conviction in Maricopa County for burglary,” Horn said. “Future prosecution will occur involving his local Maricopa County felony charges.”
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