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Duo Arrested in Thefts from For-Sale Homes
DELHI TOWNSHIP, Ohio (Jeff Hirsh) -- Police in Delhi Township say a couple pretended to be interested in buying a house but lifted jewelry from the house while going through it.
And not just one house not even close. A northern Kentucky man and his girlfriend now face burglary charges.
The Stonebridge subdivision in Delhi Township is a nice place to live. So is nearby Cedarpark Drive. Police say 33-year-old Joshua Petroze and his girlfriend, 28-year-old Kristin Manning, went to houses on Stonebridge and Cedarpark in November with a realtor.
The story was the couple was moving here from Louisville. That story, police say, was a lie.
Lt. Joe Macaluso of the Delhi Township police said, "Problem was they gave a false name, they gave the name of Ben and Katie White."
And police say Ben and Katie, actually Joshua and Kristin, stole from those houses and sold the merchandise to buy drugs.
"What they would do is take the jewelry from the house in order to support their habit."
Now it's not like these people allegedly got a tour of the house with a realtor and left and came back and broke in. No, police say these thefts actually took place while the realtor was still in the house with the couple, the unsuspecting realtor. For example, the realtor would take the man down into the basement and the woman would go upstairs and start rifling through the drawers and started taking stuff.
This happened over and over in houses all over the place. In all, investigators believe the couple visited over 100 houses in more than a dozen locations from Butler County in the north to Lexington in the south; stealing items from about twenty of the homes.
"They set up to see 10 houses a day. They would go to the house and what they would do is steal from the one house then they would go to the next house and hopefully they'd be able to steal from them as well."
Police say the scam unraveled when the realtor in Dehli got suspicious, and took down the couple's license plate. They were arrested last week in their actual home town of Villa Hills, Kentucky.
Investigators say the pair, who took their baby with them to the burglaries, admitted to the scheme.
"No, they did not go back and break in later. This was their way, I think the quote I got from her is, 'This was their way to break into houses without officially breaking into houses.'"
Investigators believe the stolen jewelry and other items were worth between 60 and 80 thousand dollars and it's possible there are more people who have not yet discovered the couple stole from them.
Police ask any realtors who showed houses to people matching these mug shots or people using the names Ben and Katie White or Ben and Katie Sloan to call Delhi Township police at 513- 922-0060.