Man arrested after more NW burglaries
Authorities believe they've caught the man behind the string of burglaries in Northwest Rochester — including homes that were occupied at the time.
Janarie Payton, 24, is in custody this morning after three homeowners called law enforcement late Tuesday night, beginning with a woman who allegedly found him inside her home.
That call came in at 10:42 p.m., sending Olmsted County Sheriff's Office deputies to the 600 block of 44th Avenue Court Southwest. The 46-year-old homeowner said she and her husband were watching TV when she heard a sliding glass door open.
She investigated, said Capt. Scott Behrns, and saw a "short individual" in the room, holding her purse, which had been on the counter. When the man saw her, he ran off, the report says.
As officers — including a police dog — responded, a resident in the 3900 block of Berkshire Road Southwest stepped outside about 11:30 p.m. and saw the activity. She went back inside the home and told her mother, who then also called law enforcement.
She told police that about 15 minutes before the first report came in, she'd heard the sound of a doorknob rattling coming from the basement of their home. The woman thought it was a family member stepping outside, but after hearing about the police presence in the area, she checked.
A window screen had been removed, said Capt. John Sherwin, and she could see footprints left in the wet grass, but no entry had been made.
More officers and K-9 units responded to the area, the report says, to continue the search.
At 12:34 a.m., a homeowner in the 3200 block of Fox Hollow Lane Southwest called police after he caught what appeared to be a burglary in progress, Sherwin said.
The man had come downstairs one last time before going to bed, the report says, when he heard a noise coming from inside the attached garage of the home. He went to the door leading into the garage, saw light coming through the doorframe, then spotted a metal object sliding between the weather stripping and the frame.
"It was obvious someone was trying to pry their way into the residence," Sherwin said this morning.
The man opened the door and spotted a man he described as 5 feet, 5 inches tall, wearing a jacket that had been hanging in the garage, the report says. The intruder ran off, but a perimeter was set up quickly, thanks to the police presence already in the area.
Payton was arrested after he was seen coming out of a wooded area near the 3200 block of Fox Point Lane Southwest, Sherwin said.
Items from the burglary on 44th Avenue Court Southwest were found in his possession, Behrns said.
"We strongly believe he's the suspect in many of these other burglaries," Sherwin said. "Now the work begins" to build a case.
Payton will likely be arraigned Thursday on multiple counts of first-degree burglary, he said.