Police: Cell phone burglars ransacking local stores

AUBURN, Wash. -- Police are looking into a string of cell phone store burglaries across south Puget Sound that are likely connected, authorities said Wednesday.

The burglaries have taken place at Sprint stores in Auburn and Port Orchard over the past few weeks, police in those cities confirmed. Investigators believe the same two men are behind the burglaries. Their images were caught on surveillance video in both cities.

The Auburn Sprint store, at 1102 Supermall Way, was first hit about three weeks ago, said co-owner Larry Culp. The thieves broke a plate glass window, snuck in, and stole armfuls of electronics on display.

"We're business owners and we know there's a certain amount of this that's going to happen," Culp said, "But this is two guys - they're doing this for a living, it appears."

Culp is also part owner of the store in Port Orchard, which has also been hit twice in the past week. The two men captured on surveillance video in Port Orchard appear to be the same men seen in video from Auburn, investigators said.

Thieves first broke into the store at 3311 Bethel Road SE on February 7th, said Port Orchard police Commander Dale Schuster, and again, four days later, on February 11th.

Schuster said the thieves took about $20,000 worth of cell phones, tablets, and more.

"They did take a significant amount of electronics both times," Schuster said, adding that his investigators are working with police in other communities to identify the men responsible.

"We've got good pictures, vehicle descriptions," added Culp. "It's just a matter of time before they get caught."