by Max Brantley
A suspicious homeowner provided a key lead to police that led to the recent arrest of George Sedberry, 39, of Benton, who is accused of serial lockbox burglary. According to the police, he'd cruise by homes listed for sale, steal the lockboxes left by realtors with keys, extract the keys and then use them for later burglaries at homes from Hillcrest to western Little Rock.
Interesting narrative from Lt. Terry Hastings:
On 8-3-11, John Warburton reported an attempted residential burglary and theft of property at his residence, located at 14 Chemin Court. Mr. Warburton stated he heard his doorbell ringing repeatedly and he assumed it was one of his neighbor’s children and did not answer. When the ringing persisted he answer the door. While he was walking towards the door he heard his deadbolt being unlocked.
Mr. Warburton answered the door and observed a white male carrying a black leather satchel at the door. The subject was driving a blue 4-door SUV which was parked in the driveway. The subject appeared to be startled when he observed Mr. Warburton. He introduced himself as “Roger” and said that he called “Michelle” and he was here to look at his home which was for sale. He then asked Mr. Warburton for an information sheet pertaining to his home. Mr. Warburton gave the sheet to him and the subject walked away. As he was walking back to his vehicle, Mr. Warburton noticed that the lockbox containing his house key located on his front porch was missing. He stopped Mr. Warburton as he was backing out of his driveway and he denied taking the lockbox. Mr. Warburton was able to get a license plate number (789 RAE) from the vehicle.
Mr. Warburton contacted his realtor, Michelle Sanders, after the subject had left. Ms. Sanders, who works for Chenal Properties, said that she was never contacted by anyone regarding his home and that she does not know anyone named “Roger.” She further stated that the lockbox belonged to Chenal Properties and it was valued at approximately $100. Mr. Warburton said that he believes that the suspect obtained Ms. Sanders’ name from the sign in his yard.
The license plate number returned to a blue 2003 Chevy C15 SUV that was owned by JMC Leasing located at 815 E Broadway (NLR). On 8-17-11, contact was made with JMC Leasing and they informed detectives that George Sedberry (W/M, 9-16-71) had leased that particular vehicle in April 2011 and has been making payments on it every month. On 8-18-11, Detectives served a warrant with Benton Police Department on George Sedberry (W/M/9-16-1971) at the Dogwood Lake Apartments (1907 Hwy 5 North) at apartment 1904. When detectives knocked on the door, Mr. Sedberry answered the door and was arrested for attempted burglary (warrant #603148). A search of his apartment and his vehicle was conducted. Upon entering the apartment, it was apparent that he was packing to move and stated that he was moving to Tennessee. Detectives located three computers, two iPads, and two digital cameras. On a table in the kitchen there were several pieces of jewelry laid on the table. Also on the table were several door keys to houses and some of the keys had address labels on them. Detectives locked a blue bucket with ten real estate lock boxes. In the spare bedroom, additional jewelry was found. Jewelry was located in a leather satchel, a plastic hanging folding bag, a plastic box, and a cardboard box. A wooden box with silver flatware was also located in the bedroom. During a search of the blue 2003 Chevy Suburban (AR license plate #789RAE), there were papers located which listed houses for sale. Additional pieces of jewelry, door keys to houses, and a lock box was located behind the passenger seat. The items were recovered and returned to the owners.
Mr. Sedberry was taken into custody and transported to the Downtown Detective Division where he was served with warrants for Attempted Residential Burglary and he was transported to PCRJ.
Through further investigation it was discovered that Mr. Sedberry had been researching homes on the internet that were for sale and actually driving in residential neighborhoods looking for homes for sale. He would steal the realtor lockboxes from homes and take them back to the apartment and extract the key. He would then return to that particular residence a day or two later and use the key to entered the residence. Mr. Sedberry would steal predominantly jewelry which he would later sell to a pawnshop or jewelry store. It is believed the Mr. Sedberry has committed multiple burglaries and thefts not only in Little Rock but in the following cities: North Little Rock, Sherwood, Maumelle, Benton, and Bryant. Detectives are working with these agencies.
A Leads-on-Line check revealed that Mr. Sedberry had pawned several jewelry items at NWA Gold N Silver (3955 Central Ave in Hot Springs) on 8-6-11 and Central Gold, Silver, & Chain (2922 Central Ave in Hot Springs) on 8-11-11. After further investigation it was determined that several residences were burglarized and large quantities of jewelry were stolen. Each residence had a realtor lockbox stolen and there was no sign of forced entry. Those residences include the following: 402 N Palm (Incident #2011-69129, Incident date 6-30-11), 311 N Spruce (Incident #2011-69399, Incident date 6-30-11), 4200 Forestdale Drive (Incident #2011-83351, Incident date 8-3-11), 11206 Ethan Allen Drive (Incident #2011-85879, Incident date 8-9-11), and 505 Green Mountain Drive #37 (Incident #2011-87386, Incident date 8-13-11).
As a result of additional information obtained in this case, Mr. Sedberry was charged with fives counts each of Residential Burglary and Theft of Property for the above listed incidents. More charges are anticipated. The stolen property recovered has been returned to the owners of the property.