Belleville man charged in connection with storage unit burglaries

A month-long investigation into a spate of storage unit burglaries in the metro-east ended with charges issued to a Belleville man.

According to a statement posted to the Swansea Police Department’s Facebook page Thursday, James T. Papproth, 26, allegedly cut the locks off storage unit doors at A Storage Inn on Old Fullerton Road near Illinois 159 and at Storage Plus on Smelting Works Road on multiple occasions before replacing them with locks of his own. The statement said Papproth would then return to the units the next day, unlock the units as though they belonged to him and remove the items inside.

Swansea police identified Papproth as a suspect after first seeing his car during surveillance of the sites in Swansea and then assisting a Columbia Police Department detective to locate him after a suspected theft at a storage unit site there.

St. Clair County court records indicate Papproth was arrested Tuesday and that he faces a third burglary charge stemming from a Belleville incident that occurred on Aug. 5 in addition to the charges stemming from the Swansea burglaries.