A Columbia man and four teenagers have been charged with burglarizing a string of businesses in Howard County.
The youngest suspects -- a 13-year-old and two 14-year-olds -- were taken into custody after police arrested a 17-year-old boy and a Columbia man for trying to sell jewelry that had been stolen a day earlier from J&D Jewelry.
Police say the five suspects committed 16 burglaries in Columbia and Elkridge between November and January at businesses that ranged from L.A. Boxing and the Olive Garden to Bright Stars Learning Academy and DAS Auto Body. The U.S. 1 Flea Market was hit twice in four days.
The thieves got away with cash, stereo equipment, several knives, jewelry and other items, as well as a destroyed safe and ATM, authorities say.
After J&D Jewelry was burglarized Jan. 22, police asked several local jewelry stores to be on the lookout for anyone selling large quantities of silver jewelry. The following day, detectives received a call from Monica Jewelers at The Mall in Columbia and arrested Charles Rodriguez, 24, and the 17-year-old suspect. The younger suspects were arrested later after further investigation and the execution of search warrants.
Rodriguez is charged with selling stolen merchandise and was released on a $7,500 bond.
The teen suspects have not been identified due to their ages.