Four Columbia teens were charged this week in a string of 16 commercial burglaries at Howard County businesses, including a recent jewelry store burglary in which a neighboring business had its wall sledgehammered to gain entry.
Of those charged, one is 13-years-old, two are 14, and one is 17, according to police. Police said the juveniles colluded with Charles Rodriguez, a 24-year-old Columbia man, who was charged with selling their stolen merchandise after one of the incidents.
Police said they believe the teens are responsible for a Jan. 22 burglary in which the suspects broke a back window at Concentra Urgent Care on Dobbin Road, then sledgehammered through a wall of the business to enter J&D Jewelry, where they stole an undetermined amount of jewelry.
After the jewelry burglary, officers said they reached out to local jewelry stores and asked them to look out for someone trying to sell large quantities of silver jewelry. The next day, police said Rodriguez and the 17-year-old were arrested at Monica Jewelers at the Mall in Columbia on Jan. 23 trying to sell jewelry stolen from J&D.
After that arrest, the three additional juveniles were arrested based on the findings of a police investigation into other commercial burglaries that began in early November, according to police.
The teens have been charged in other burglaries, including attempts to steal ATMs from Lakeside Café, in Town Center, and Cradlerock Mart, on Cradlerock Way.
A police spokesperson said there was no indication at this time that the juveniles were being directed by Rodriguez or another adult to commit the burglaries. Police said Rodriguez was involved because in order to sell jewelry, a person must be over 18.
Police did not release the value of items believed to have been stolen by the teens, but said they stole a safe, cash, stereo equipment, knives, jewelry, a laptop and an ATM machine. The safe and the ATM were each found destroyed near the scenes of the burglaries, according to police.
Police said items found near the Cradlerock Mart helped identify the suspects, but would not say what those items were due to investigative reasons.
The juveniles are suspected by police to be involved in the burglaries at the following locations and dates:
- DAS Auto Service, Dobbin Center Way, Columbia, Nov. 6
- Dobbin Auto Body, Dobbin Center Way, Columbia, Nov. 6
- US 1 Flea Market, Washington Blvd., Elkridge, Nov. 16
- Rudy’s Mediterranean Grill, Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia, Dec. 8
- Olive Garden, Benson Drive, Columbia, Dec. 8
- US 1 Flea Market, Washington Blvd., Elkridge, Dec. 16
- US 1 Flea Market, Washington Blvd., Elkridge, Dec. 20
- Soccer America, Dobbin Road, Columbia, Dec. 28
- LA Boxing, Dobbin Center Way, Columbia, Dec. 31
- Lakeside Coffee and Café, Wincopin Circle, Jan. 3
- Mad City Coffee, Hickory Ridge Road, Columbia, Jan. 3
- Columbia Nail Salon, Hickory Ridge Road, Columbia, Jan. 3
- Bright Stars Learning Academy, Cedar Lane, Columbia, Jan. 3
- Cradlerock Market, Cradlerock Way, Columbia, Jan. 3
- Concentra, Dobbin Road, Columbia, Jan. 22
- J&D Jewelry, Dobbin Road, Columbia, Jan. 22
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