SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Five North County boys were in custody Wednesday for allegedly breaking into and looting at least five Oceanside homes in quick succession.
Police began getting a flurry of 911 calls about residential burglaries or prowlers in the area of Melrose Drive and North Santa Fe Avenue, near Guajome Regional Park, about 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, Lt. Leonard Cosby said.
Over the next hour, dispatchers received a total of 109 reports of home- invasion crimes or sightings of suspected housebreakers on Crestview Drive, Hollins Road, Powell Road, Sable Court, Sagewood Drive and Sunbright Drive.
"At one point, residents in the area reported a burglary in progress," Cosby said.
Officers searched for the thieves into the evening hours with help with a sheriff's helicopter crew. About 8:30 p.m., the personnel found two suspects, ages 12 and 17, trying to hide in a neighborhood on Powell Road and arrested them without incident.
Valuables stolen during the crimes were located in backpacks and plastic bags hidden in bushes near the victims' residences, the lieutenant said. The recovered items included cash, jewelry, firearms, electric tools, video-game equipment and a collection of Zippo cigarette lighters.
Two stolen shotguns were found buried in a field off North Santa Fe Avenue, Cosby said.
This afternoon, detectives went to the homes of three other suspects, ages 16 and 17, questioned the youths and arrested two of them. The third boy was released to his parents, Cosby said.
The arrestees, all of whom live in Oceanside or Vista, were booked into juvenile hall in San Diego. Their names were withheld because they are minors.
"Detectives are continuing to follow leads which may implicate the juveniles in other residential burglaries," the lieutenant said.