ELKINS - A Beverly man is being held in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail on a $75,000 cash bond after being arrested Wednesday as a suspect in what police are calling a string of daytime burglaries.
Jason Chewning, 26, was charged with one count of burglary, a felony. Chewning was arraigned by Chief Randolph County Magistrate Ben Shepler.
After a joint investigation involving the Randolph County Sheriff's Office and the Elkins detachment of the West Virginia State Police, officers were able to recover a cache of stolen items, including firearms, jewelry, laptops and several other electronic items, Sheriff Mark Brady told The Inter-Mountain Wednesday.
Nearly a dozen burglaries have been reported in the Georgetown Road and Beverly areas in recent weeks, and tips from the public aided officials in making the arrest, Brady said.
According to the official criminal complaint, prepared by Trooper First Class J.R. Wince, troopers received a complaint from a woman Wednesday who told them someone had entered her home and stolen "a black sentry safe and a Play Station 3 gaming system."
After speaking to several witnesses, officers were able to obtain a physical description of the suspect and of a dark-colored Jeep that was seen in the driveway at the time the crime was committed, according to the complaint.
Wince wrote that, after speaking with fellow troopers and deputies, he "began to compile information regarding several other burglaries in the area with the same suspect."
Officers obtained a search warrant for Chewning's residence. In his vehicle they found a Play Station 3 video game system that matched the serial number of the one reported missing, the complaint states. Officers also found "a black trash bag containing photographs and personal documents belonging to the victim," but were unable to locate the safe, according to the complaint.
In a recorded statement, Chewning admitted to entering the residence and "stealing the safe and the Play Station 3 game system," according to the criminal complaint. Chewning told police "he was trying to make money to buy Christmas presents for his children," the complaint reads.
Wince told The Inter-Mountain that while most of the items have been returned, a few remain unclaimed. He advised anyone who lives in the Georgetown Road or Haddix Road area who has noticed some items missing from their homes to contact the State Police at 304-637-0200.
"They must be able to reasonably identify or have some sort of proof of ownership of the items," Wince said.