Two Arrested In Dollar General Burglaries-Update - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Two Arrested In Dollar General Burglaries-Update

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Update 1-10-13:

Morrison police have now charged Stephen Sato and Julie Korotkov in connection with a theft at the Dollar General store in Morrision. The burglary charge is in addition to charges filed in a similar theft in Fulton.

Previous Story:

It's an investigation that spans several counties, possibly across state lines. A string of recent burglaries at area Dollar General stores where the suspects have even gone into break rooms to steal employee personal items. Stephen Sato and Julie Korotkov, both of Chicago, are now charged with burglary in Whiteside County.

The initial complaint was from the Fulton Dollar General on December 31st. Several days later officials believe the two hit the Dollar General stores in Port Byron as well as Morrison. Police say this investigation has also taken them from Savanna to Sterling, to Prophetstown even Clinton. Upon making the arrests Tuesday, they recovered so many items that officers were still going through them Wednesday evening.

"We have bags and bags of evidence and property we have recovered," said Lt. Donnie Pridemore of the Fulton Police Department.

Investigators say they believe Sato and Korotkov had a strategy when burglarizing the Dollar General Stores. That is, one of them would distract employees while the other went in to the break room to grab employee items, including wallets. "One of the managers there had noticed items missing from her purse and as she got suspicious." added Pridemore.

Sato was caught on surveillance video in the back room at one of the stores. Police also used an image of Korotkov walking into the store to help identify her. Investigators say would also walk away with stuff from off the shelves.

Following similar burglaries in Port Byron and Morrison investigators say more of the pieces started to fall into place.

"We learned the next day the credit cards that were stolen had been used over in Clinton," said Morrison Police Chief Brian Melton.

Over the weekend pictures of their faces went public. A part-time Thomson police officer recognized Sato from a recent traffic stop. He was also spotted by a citizen at a Dairy Queen in Sterling. "Calls started coming in, we put it on facebook, the media helped us, and working with the businesses," added Melton.

It eventually led police to where the two were staying in Thomson, where officers found bags and bags of stolen items including wallets, clothing, and pricey printer cartridges.

"We haven't even figured out where a lot of this merchandise came from," said Lt. Pridemore.

Which is why investigators believe the several locations they're connected to in this area aren't the only ones. "They were smart enough to know that would be a difficult case for us because they aren't from the area," added Pridemore.

Investigators say both suspects have extensive criminal histories. More burglary charges are likely in the next couple days out of Rock Island County and Morrison. Credit card fraud charges are possible too.

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