LAKEPORT – LAKE COUNTY – A 46-year-old woman has been arrested, and her 25-year-old accomplice is wanted by police for a series of burglaries in the area. Their loot included a bag of tools from the motel they were staying in while conducting a series of break-ins and attempts.
The woman and man, Kimberly Jo Harvey of Nice and Jeffery W. Stokes of Upper Lake, are the prime suspects in burglaries in the city of Lakeport last week from Monday the 6th to Thursday the 9th of January. They targeted a number of businesses along Main Street and left burglary tools and other evidence behind at most of the locations, according to a press release from the Lakeport Police Department.
It appears that the suspects, late on Monday night, started at the north end of North Main, as evidence of an attempted break in was found at Strings and Things, a guitar and music shop, ironically located on the same block, and right around the corner from the Lakeport Police Department. There were pry marks on the door and frame, enough to raise the owner’s suspicions the next day, but they were not successful in getting in. Either the door was too secure, or perhaps they finally noticed numerous squad cars in the area, and gave up.
Their next stop appears to have been at around 2 am, 3 blocks down Main, at Angie’s Lake County Cleaners and Veronica’s Jewelry Repair Shop, both at 610 North Main. The intruders had more luck here, as they had gained entry and ransacked the businesses, also stealing over $500.00 in cash. A travel trailer parked behind was also broken into. The pair were sloppy, however, as the surveillance cameras caught images of a white male and white female who matched Stokes’ and Harvey’s appearance. They also left unnamed items of evidence behind, which later helped police in the investigation.
Not finished for the night, however, the pair apparently headed a couple blocks further south, right past a potential future business they may need, Mel’s Bail Bonds, and on to The World Of Gifts, 350 N. Main, where they apparently dropped a home-made tool that could be used for prying open doors. Investigation showed that the tool matched the signs of attempted forced entry at Strings and Things, but was left at the doorway of the gift store with no evidence of forced entry into the shop. Perhaps they were again interrupted and left before doing any harm, but leaving the tool behind in their haste. In any case, it was a suspicious enough object for the business owner to report it the next morning.
The pair likely then returned to their home base, the Anchorage Inn Motel, which is also on Main Street, and located right across the street from Strings and Things, and just around the corner from the Police Station. At some point while at the hotel, they broke into a storage unit on the premises, and took a bag of power tools. On Tuesday night, or early Wednesday morning, the pair headed the other direction, down 11th Street to Round Table Pizza, where similar efforts to gain entry were apparently made, but with no success. When the business opened on Wednesday, the employees called police to report the damage to the door and frame, and this time the frustrated prowlers left behind, not only burglary tools, but a package shipped through US mail that had apparently been stolen, but never opened.
They also made at least one other stop that night, at a home on 11th Street. They had successfully broken in to the home, basement and garage and stole several items. But like the Pink Panther bandit in the movies, they left a “calling card” behind; some mail stolen from an address on 6th Street. The residents of the 11th Street home reported the break in the next day at 1:30 in the afternoon. Investigators connected all these burglaries by the methods, evidence left behind, and no doubt the ineptness with which they were carried out.
And late Wednesday, at 23 minutes after midnight, police were called to the Anchorage Inn on a report of one of the tenants stealing coins from the laundry room. He was gone by the time officers arrived, but the manager recognized him as the young man who had registered into room 102. The manager showed them surveillance video of him checking in, and Officer Joe Eastman, together with his partner Officer Angie Bell, recognized him immediately as the man seen in the video from the Lake Co. Cleaners break in. They officers contacted room 102, and knew they struck paydirt when the woman answering the door looked just like the man’s partner from the burglary video. On their request, Kimbery Harvey allowed them to enter the room, where they saw multiple apparently stolen items, including jewelry and blank checks, along with bolt cutters. Ms. Harvey as arrested on suspicion of burglary and possession of stolen property and burglary tools. The room was sealed for further detailed investigation. Harvey’s partner, Jeff Stokes, was nowhere to be seen, apparently fleeing after being spotted breaking into the coin laundry.
The next morning a team of detectives obtained and served a search warrant on the room. They found items reported stolen from the Lake County Cleaners and the 11th Street residence, and a lot more apparently stolen, but not yet identified items, along with the bag of power tools taken from their landlord. Along with the bolt cutters, there were screwdrivers, pliers, gloves, and even walkie talkies that were apparently used in the burglaries.
Kimberly Jo Harvey, the older of the pair, was also the most experienced, and was perhaps showing her young friend the ropes, though she had not been much more successful in the past. A search of her records showed that she had been arrested on several charges of misdemeanor and felony theft, burglary and forgery. She also had convictions on several charges, most recently on 2011. Additionaly, she had an outstanding warrant for petty theft with a prior conviction. A purse stolen from a vehicle this last December was connected to her as well.
On Wednesday, December 18, police were called to a home on Mellor Drive on reports of mail stolen, and Hartley Street for a purse, with checks and a license, taken from a car. The next day, the woman missing her purse was alerted that a check had been passed at Grocery Outlet. Investigators, with the help of the store manager, examined the footage of the woman forging the stolen check, and it matched a booking photo of Harvey. The missing mail matched evidence collected at the motel. Bail was increased for her based on her history, and is set at $200,000.
Her junior partner in crime, Jeff Stokes, was not completely inexperienced. He has a prior arrest for felony burglary and possession of stolen property in Nevada. He is still missing and wanted by Lakeport Police. He is described as 6’2″, 220 pounds, blue eyed and bald. The investigation goes on, and stolen property needs to be identified. Anyone with information or who may be a victim is encouraged to call Lakepost Police at 707-263-5491.
Update: 1/17: The Lake County Sheriff has announced that Jeffery William Stokes remains at large and wanted. A number of tips have come in to the office, but so far none have panned out. He is described as 6 feet 2 inches, 220 pounds, blue eyes, with short or bald hair. His last known photos are the ones shown in this article. Anyone with information should call 707-263-5491.
Second Update: Stokes was arrested by Capitola Police in Santa Cruz County. Read More…
Lake County News: Police arrest one, seek second suspect in Lakeport burglaries