Citizen assistance leads to arrest of burglary suspects

Linda Saholt

News Review Correspondent

Two Ridgecrest residents found themselves in police custody after reportedly attempting to sell stolen jewelry and coins to a local business. According to Kern County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Mike Scott, a local business provided a tip that helped sheriff’s deputies crack a case under investigation.

“A few weeks ago, several suspects were going around to local businesses trying to sell stolen jewelry and coins,” said Scott. “It really helps law enforcement if businesses obtain proper ID on anyone selling suspected stolen items.

“It really helped us out this time, because we had quality information on the suspect, so we had an idea who the suspect was. We went to get the search warrant. While we were getting it, the call came in that the suspect was at a second business, trying to sell stolen merchandise.”

According to sheriff’s office records, on Sept. 27, a resident in the 1400 block of Pinto Street reported a burglary of approximately $450 worth of coins. On Sept. 30, a resident in the 3600 block of West Graaf reported a burglary of coins and jewelry valued at approximately $4,250.

These residences are in close proximity to each other, and the incidents appeared to be related, based on the time frame and method of entry. While these burglaries were under investigation, deputies located some of the stolen coins at S&M Coins and Collectables and were able to identify a suspect.

Deputies were in the process of obtaining a search warrant for the suspect’s residence when the call came in that two subjects were at All That Glitters, attempting to sell jewelry. Deputies responded and found Christina Johnston, 22, and Kevin Heeg, 32, inside the store, allegedly attempting to sell stolen jewelry from one of the burglaries.

Johnston was arrested for burglary and possession of stolen property. Heeg was arrested for possession of stolen property and possession of controlled substance paraphernalia. Both subjects were transported to the Central Receiving Facility for booking on Oct. 3.

Deputies later served a search warrant at Johnston’s residence and located additional stolen property from both burglaries.

Both suspects went to court for arraignment on Oct. 5. Heeg pled guilty to one misdemeanor charge of possession of paraphernalia. Johnston was charged with two felony counts of first-degree burglary and three felony counts of receiving/possessing known stolen property. She is being held in lieu of $50,000 bail and is set for a pre-preliminary hearing on Oct. 16.

Story First Published: 2012-10-10