A St. Louis man faces nearly a dozen counts and is suspected in up to 40 burglaries after a year-long investigation by Collinsville Police.
James Holmes, 29, of St. Louis, has been charged with nine counts of burglary, one count of stealing a license plate, and one count of aggravated fleeing and eluding a police officer. But police say he also is a suspect in a rash of vehicle burglaries over the last 18 months in the Illinois 157/North Bluff Road business district in Collinsville.
Collinsville Police Major Brett Boerm said he was suspected in up to 40 burglaries in the area, but did not know if more charges would be pending.
“We believe he also hit O’Fallon, Fairview Heights and Shiloh, and we’ve passed the information on to those law enforcement agencies,” Boerm said.
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Among the burglaries of which Holmes is suspected: A wrestling team from Elgin stopped at Applebee’s in Collinsville on their way back from a meet last December. Their van was burglarized while they ate, and all the wrestling equipment was taken, along with seven of the youths’ equipment bags and their personal electronics.
Shortly thereafter, a distinctive red Jeep that had been spotted in the vicinity of other car burglaries was spotted at Zapata’s Restaurant on Eastport Plaza Drive. Officers attempted to stop the car, but the vehicle fled onto the interstate. A brief pursuit was initiated and then terminated, police said.
Boerm said none of the students’ equipment or personal property was ever recovered, including items that were new Christmas presents belonging to the kids. Elgin parents launched a GoFundMe fundraiser to replace the sports equipment, eventually raising $6,075.
Other burglaries included vans and passenger vehicles parked at various businesses in Collinsville Crossing, Gateway Center and North Bluff Road. Areas targeted primarily focused on parking lots for hotels, restaurants and businesses, police said, which allowed quick entry and escape onto Interstate 55/70.
Charges were filed on Nov. 28, and Holmes was eventually located in St. Louis and arrested. He was not “initially cooperative,” Boerm said.
“It was my understanding they had to make forced entry to the house,” he said. “From what I was told, they had to go in to get him and there may have been a brief pursuit within the house.”
Holmes was in custody Friday at the St. Louis City Justice Center and was to be extradited to Madison County to face charges, Boerm said.
Holmes’ Madison County bail was set at $120,000. Boerm said while they believe others are involved, Holmes was the only one yet identified as a suspect in the series of burglaries.