A neighbor helped alert his vacationing landlord to a break-in, and it turned out that one of the suspects police arrested in the case is the neighbor's son.
The break-in happened a little over a week ago at 529 W. Pleasant St. in Portage.
Don Helper called his vacationing landlord when he noticed something wasn't right.
"He noticed a door that led from the apartment to the outside, he noticed it was open," Portage Police Detective Lt. Mark Hahn said.
That started the process of the landlord calling police, who found the home had indeed been broken into -- on two separate occasions.
"My renter, Don Helper, called me and said somebody sprung the lock going into my mother's house," the homeowner said in a call to police.
Footprints from the snow left inside led police to a suspect. Eventually, three teens were arrested in connection with the break-ins.
Frederick Harvey III, 19, Richard Helper, 17, and Yancy McMurray, 17, all from Portage, were arrested on charges of burglary and theft. They made their initial appearance in Columbia County Circuit Court last Wednesday.
It turned out that Don Helper's tip led to the arrest of his son, Richard, in connection with the break-in of the downstairs apartment.
"He was a nice neighbor, to call us when he noticed something was wrong," Hahn said. "Unfortunately, though, it ended up being his son who was involved with it."
Richard Helper and McMurray are both charged with felony burglary and misdemeanor theft. Investigators said they broke into the apartment once.
Harvey is charged with two counts of the same charges. Police said Harvey broke in twice.
Portage police said the teens admitted to stealing about $150, alcohol and some jewelry. Police said most of the stolen items have been recovered.
All three teens have been released on $5,000 signature bonds. They're all due back in court on Feb. 25.