Sheriff requests public's help with burglary spree
Since the start of the year, 19 thefts have been reported to the Madison County Sheriff’s Office and Ennis Police Department. Of most concern are seven of these thefts, where the suspects are targeting storage units, homes and out-buildings on victims' properties. Perpetrators are forcing entry by either cutting or prying off locks or kicking access doors open and this is occurring at night.
“The pattern that is developing is occurring in surrounding counties and matches that of last years' string of thefts and burglaries that occurred all over Madison County,” said Madison County Sheriff Roger Thompson. “Some of these thefts have been large losses. I would like to make as many people aware that the suspects are taking advantage of places like the storage units and buildings where someone might be away, and looking for locks that are easy to defeat.”
Thompson added the suspects in cases last year and this year have been traveling from nearby counties to commit crimes in Madison County. The sheriff attributes methamphetamine use as a big driver in these crimes and believes it will unfortunately continue. Opioid use is also growing in Montana and that will also drive the crime rates.
“If I could get help on three things from the public on this problem, it would help,” said Thompson. “One, lock up your homes, businesses and vehicles the best you can and remove things like firearms from places that are easily accessible, since those are targets of these thieves. Second, report illegal drug activity to us. This one is hard for the citizens, but the user and dealers are pushing our crime rate up and lowering the safety for everyone. As long as it is allowed to continue, problems and crime will grow and the peace of mind we still enjoy will go away. Lastly, report what you see that doesn’t look right, 24/7. We can’t be everywhere but we want to take advantage of every opportunity that comes along and it is the public’s eyes and support that helps tremendously.”