Four teens charged with involvement in Howard County burglary ring

One of the burglars was 13 years old, the police said, and two others were 14. Another was 17.

The four have been charged with involvement in 16 commercial burglaries in Howard County since November, county police said Monday.

Items taken included an ATM, a safe, cash, stereo equipment, a laptop computer, knives and jewelry, the police said. The ATM and the safe were found near where they were taken. Each had been destroyed.

The latest break-in occurred early last week, according to the police, at a jewelry store on Dobbin Road in Columbia.

Early in the morning police said, a window was broken in a business adjacent to the jeweler. From there, police said, the burglars smashed through a wall with a sledgehammer and got into the jewelry store.

Then they took a pick-ax to display cases and took jewelry.

Police said investigators asked other jewelers in the vicinity to watch for anyone trying to sell certain items of silver.

The response was quick, according to police. On Jan. 23, a store at the Mall in Columbia said two people were trying to sell jewelry. Police said the items had been stolen in the sledgehammer break-in.

Two people were arrested, police said, a 17-year-old and a man who was 24. Further investigation led to the arrests of the other teenagers, police said.

The teenagers’ names and the charges against them were not released.

Police identified the 24-year-old as Charles Rodriguez, of Columbia. He was charged with selling stolen property and released on bond, police said.

The break-ins began Nov. 6 and continued in December, police said. They said seven were reported this month.

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