Brazen break-ins shock local families


Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - Mason Watkins

LEDBETTER, Ky. — Four break-ins in one day in broad daylight: investigators say these bold burglars know exactly what they're doing.

Multiple witnesses have even identified the suspects' car but they keep getting away.

Three of the four thefts were in Ledbetter, Kentucky, where people got home from work only to find back doors kicked in, rooms ransacked and their stuff gone. Investigators believe a break-in in Reidland is also connected.

There may have been a fifth victim had that person not come home. The Livingston County Sheriff said that on Monday morning, another Ledbetter homeowner spotted two men in a car scoping out his property.

He confronted the men and they couldn't give him a straight answer as to what they were doing or why they didn't have a license plate, not even a temporary tag. The sheriff believes those are the suspects. However, by the time the homeowner called the sheriff, the two men were long gone.

A typical afternoon for 14-year-old Jared Heldenbrand consists of getting off the school bus, walking up the road to Grandma's house and practicing piano. Last Tuesday was anything but typical for this teen, as he walked into a crime scene when he stepped into his house.

"Came up saw the door open and freaked out," Jared said.

"My son's just running down the yard here screaming we've been robbed. He's just in a panic," Jared's dad John said.

This family had felt safe. Their dog wouldn't hurt a fly and their doors are always unlocked.

"Five years ago, this wouldn't have happened on this road, because my dad used to run up and down the road constantly keeping track of everyone's houses. He died three years ago and look what happened," John said.

"I didn't think a thing in the world when that young man came to the door," John's mom Naomi said.

She couldn't stop this from happening but she alone holds key information that could crack this case.

"Would I recognize him? I think I would," Naomi said.

The suspect came to her house that day. Her car was in the garage. She said he ran up to the door thinking no one was home. When she confronted him, he asked for directions to Smithland and then left, possibly going to her son's house right next door.

"Any description you can get, whether it's of the person themselves or the vehicle or whatever it is, it's going to be helpful," Livingston County Sheriff Bobby Davidson said.

Another house was broken into on the same day. The sheriff said while no one was inside, there were some workers in a nearby field. They didn't get a good look at the suspects but did described the car. Their description just so happened to match Heldenbrand's.

"It's just hard to catch them but we're going to catch them," the sheriff said.

And that promise is music to Jared's ears.

In practically every case, the crooks took medicine, guns, ammo, jewelry and electronics.

The suspects could be driving a gray, four-door Cadillac. If you run across the suspects or have any information about these crimes, call the sheriff's department.