MAYVILLE - Three men reportedly tied to a rash of daytime burglaries in Chautauqua County have been charged, the Sheriff's Office announced Tuesday.
The charges come after a three-month-long investigation by multiple police agencies, including authorities in Pennsylvania. The burglaries largely took place in the north end of the county, although investigators are reviewing other reported thefts throughout the area.
Charged with one count each of second-degree burglary were: Dustin W. Hale, 25, of Silver Creek; Alex Tylwalk, 21, of Dunkirk; and Richard J. Patterson, 21, of Brocton.
Tylwalk and Patterson were taken into custody Tuesday by the Sheriff's Office and were awaiting arraignment in Chautauqua County Court. Hale was charged in February and currently is in County Jail in lieu of $30,000 cash or $60,000 real property bond.
According to a news release announcing the charges, the suspects were first identified after they were caught on an unknown date in a town of Stockton residence. Police said the family returned to find the three men inside; the suspects allegedly fled the scene.
A vehicle description was broadcasted, and Hale and Tylwalk were later found by Dunkirk police. Further investigation by police in Dunkirk, Westfield and the Sheriff's Office led to all three being charged.
Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace on Tuesday praised his office for the apprehensions. However, he stressed the investigation is ongoing and more charges could be forthcoming.
"It was a tremendous effort by our investigators," Gerace said.
The three suspects are accused of burglarizing at least a dozen residences in January and February, most of which occurred during the day. Gerace said police also are investigating burglaries in Pennsylvania.
"We have reason to believe (these suspects) were active there, as well," the sheriff said.
Investigators have been searching the Internet and local pawn shops for the stolen property. Gerace described the recovery process as "frustrating," and noted many items are quickly sold to buy drugs.
"There is a good chance the stolen property is brought to pawn shops and sold on the streets for drugs," Gerace said. "Our investigators are all over this.
"They are on eBay and searching the shops for the items. We give out a list of the things we are looking for. It can be a difficult process."