OLYMPIA, Wash. - Police in Thurston County said they have made 11 arrests in a crime ring responsible for more than two dozen burglaries and more arrests could be on the way.
"We've taken a pretty big chunk out of the burglary problem here in the county,” said Olympia Police Chief Ronnie Roberts.
Items recovered during the bust of the organized crime ring linked to 28 residential burglaries in and around Olympia included jewelry, electronics, tools and a saxophone.
Investigators said the burglars were led by 34-year-old Kenneth Linville, of Lacey. He's charged with leading organized crime and is being held on a $250,000 bail.
"He is clearly a threat to the community in our view,” said Thurston County prosecutor Jon Tunheim.
Police said Linville had several people working for him who committed the actual burglaries. They also helped him melt down jewelry, sell stolen property and buy illegal drugs, according to investigators.
If convicted on all charges, Linville could spend the rest of his life in prison.
"We don't have a lot of leading organized crime cases so this is actually a big deal and he's a bigger deal than what we originally thought,” said Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza.
Among those in custody is 22-year-old Jessica Hargrave, of Olympia, who is believed to be Linville's primary accomplice. She's being held on $50,000 bail.
Linville and Hargrave will be arraigned next week.
The investigation involved all major police agencies in Thurston County.
Police said they eventually plan to put the stolen items on display so victims can identify and claim their property.