By Christopher Burbach
OMAHA, Neb. — Omaha police on patrol discovered three crimes in progress in the span of three hours early Wednesday and arrested suspects in all three — a clothing store burglary in north Omaha, a convenience store beer heist near downtown and graffiti vandalism in south Omaha.
Officer Bill Dropinski, an Omaha police spokesman, said it's not unusual for patrolling officers to notice crimes in progress and catch the alleged perpetrators.
"But they caught three in one night in different parts of town; it's just really active police work, being out there in the community and watching the hot spots," Dropinski said.
The three incidents:
• Omaha police officers alerted by a burglar alarm early Wednesday recovered NASCAR coats, Baby Phat and Coogi brand jeans, and other expensive clothing stolen from Noughttii Gotti Gear, a store at 4601 N. 30th St.
An officer on patrol at 30th Street and Meredith Avenue discovered a door had been forced open to Noughttii Gotti, which rents space from Parkway Coin Laundry at 4601 N. 30th St. It appeared that clothing had been stolen. After other officers arrived, they received information that people had run from the store to a house about three blocks away. Police found stolen clothes at the house and arrested two men, ages 21 and 19. They were booked into jail on suspicion of burglary.
• Earlier Wednesday, just before 2 a.m., officers in the area of 24th and Pierce Streets noticed a disturbance at Best Mart Convenience Store, 1222 S. 24th St. A man ran out carrying two cases of beer, for which, it turned out, he had not paid. The officers arrested him.
Employees told police that seven to nine men had been in the store and broke glass cooler doors. Most had fled before the police arrived. The man with the beer, a 19-year-old Omahan, was booked into jail on suspicion of theft and destruction of property.
• Omaha police on patrol about 1 a.m. Wednesday caught a young man painting graffiti on a popular south Omaha ice cream shop, La Michoacana, 24th and E Streets.
The man ran off. But police found him hiding under a porch nearby, said Sgt. Teresa Negron, a police spokeswoman. Police discovered that another business in the area, Business Printing Services, also had been freshly hit with graffiti.
The alleged vandal was booked on suspicion of two counts each of destruction of property, painting graffiti and trespassing. He also was booked on suspicion of possessing less than one ounce of marijuana and obstructing a police officer.
Kayoka Chambers, owner of Noughttii Gotti, said the officers had recovered about half of the items stolen from her store.
"They didn't just treat it lightly because this is a small business," she said.
Chambers said she was grateful to witnesses who told police where the suspects had gone. "We need more of that in the community."
Copyright 2007 The Omaha World-Herald
Neb. police discover three crimes in progress and bust them all