TROY, Mo. – A husband-and-wife team of burglars broke into about 60 homes around rural eastern Missouri, stealing guns, jewelry and other valuables and selling them to a jewelry store owner who then sold the stolen goods over the Internet, authorities said Thursday.
All three — Kibb Patrick Howard, 27, Carla Kay Howard, 26, and Michael Carl Sifrit, 42, face multiple state charges, and authorities are seeking federal indictments, Lincoln County Lt. Andy Binder said at a news conference. All three are jailed in Warren County, where the first set of charges were filed.
Police said they found about 100 stolen weapons and other stolen property at Sifrit's home in Fenton. Three guns and stolen jewelry allegedly were found at his S&S Jewelers in Warrenton, which police described as a front for the illegal sale of stolen guns and other stolen property.
Lincoln County detective Shannon Bowen said investigators were looking into reports that Sifrit sold some of the items on eBay.
At the news conference, about four dozen confiscated rifles and shotguns were laid out on tables, along with bows and arrows, power tools, big-screen TVs, knives, VCRs, even an electric guitar.
"It was through good old-fashioned police work that we were able to locate these suspects," Binder said.
The Howards broke into homes in five counties — Lincoln, Warren, Audrain, Montgomery and Pike, authorities said. All of the burglaries happened in the daylight over the past 45 days.
The investigation began when witnesses started reporting seeing a man and a woman in a maroon Jeep Cherokee in the areas of the burglaries. Witnesses also reported seeing a tattoo on the woman's neck.
Binder said Carla Howard would knock on the front door. If someone was home, she'd make up a reason for being there, sometimes saying she was there to "pick up the puppies."
If the home was unoccupied, Binder said, Kibb Howard would break in and take items like guns, jewelry and televisions.
Binder said the Howards have a residence in Laddonia but were found at a friend's home in Truesdale, where they were arrested on Tuesday. He said both confessed to the crimes to get money to feed their addiction to heroin. They allegedly told police they stole about 150 weapons.
Binder said Sifrit bought the goods knowing they were stolen. His home and jewelry store were raided on Wednesday.
Authorities believe Sifrit has received and sold as many as 500 firearms and tens of thousands of dollars worth of stolen jewelry.
Other suspects also may have sold stolen property to Sifrit, authorities said. The investigation continues.