South Windsor Police Make Second Arrest In Car Burglary Ring

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Eric Johnson is the second person arrested in connection with a group of thieves that targeted cars in wealthy areas, according to police. (Courtesy of South Windsor Police)

SOUTH WINDSOR — Police have arrested a second person in a car burglary ring that targeted affluent neighborhoods in area towns by using Google maps.

Eric V. Johnson, 32, of Alice Street in Springfield was arrested Friday on a warrant charging him with 17 counts of conspiracy to commit third-degree burglary and seven counts of conspiracy to commit sixth-degree larceny, police said.

Johnson was in custody Monday morning on $35,000 bail and was scheduled to be arraigned later in the day at Superior Court in Manchester.

According to police, he was one of three suspects who would park in a neighborhood and go through unlocked cars, taking items of value. Officers arrested a co-conspirator, Andrew Dupree of Holyoke, Mass., last week.

Dupree, 20, faces burglary and conspiracy charges in South Windsor, Glastonbury, Bloomfield and Vernon in connection with a series of car burglaries from June until his arrest Aug. 19 by Bloomfield police.

Already jailed on the Bloomfield and Vernon charges, Dupree was arrested Oct. 29 on charges related to crimes in South Windsor and Glastonbury.

At the time, South Windsor police said they had warrants for two men they say worked with Dupree.

In interviews with police, Dupree admitted that he and his friends used Google maps to scout out areas they thought would be relatively affluent to go burglarize unlocked cars, South Windsor police Lt. Scott Custer said.

“They would target areas near golf courses and residences with large roofs and then they would pick a central point, put it into their GPS unit and drive to the area,” Custer said. “They’d park and walk up and down the streets burglarizing any car that was not locked.”

The group would go out two to three times a week and burglarize 40 to 50 cars a night, he said.

Dupree told police that their take from each night’s burglaries got better and better so the group kept it up until Bloomfield police caught him.

“He said he didn’t think people would leave their cars unlocked but found that people would leave their wallet with their entire paycheck in the cars,” Custer said.

Dupree said he stole cash but also focused on electronics and tools, Custer said. He didn’t pawn them but put the word out on the street that he had items for sale.

He made so much money, Custer said, he told police he sent some to the mother of his children.

By Christine Dempsey, Hartford Courant

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