A stealthy nighttime burglar began stalking well-to-do neighborhoods in south Kansas City and Johnson County in late January.
Using a relay of stolen cars to move between crime scenes, the thief often hit while people were sleeping. Victims were unaware that someone had been inside their home until they woke and discovered property missing.
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In some cases, police believed that the intruder made entrance through pet doors.
And that turned out to be his undoing.
Several years ago, Kansas City police detective Mike McClure interviewed a convicted burglar who had employed that same method of entry.
When investigators checked on the suspect in those cases, they discovered the Kansas City man had been released from the Missouri Department of Corrections on Jan. 18, shortly before the recent burglaries began.
Officers began tailing that man. On Sunday, police arrested him as he emerged from a Leawood house.
“One of our undercover cars was sitting right in front of the driveway,” said Leawood Sgt. Scott Hansen. “The garage door opened and he came walking out.”
On Tuesday, Raymond Keith Dorsey, 24, appeared in Johnson County District Court, where he is charged with two counts of aggravated burglary and one count of felony theft of a motor vehicle.
Dorsey is being held in the Johnson County Jail. His bond is set at $250,000.
The charges involve two home break-ins in Leawood on Sunday, and the theft from Kansas City of a 1999 Chevrolet Tahoe that was parked outside the Leawood house where Dorsey was arrested.
Kansas City Detective Michael Helvie said the keys to that Tahoe had been taken from the kitchen of a home while the unaware residents sat 15 feet away.
“They were watching TV at the same time he was in the kitchen stealing their keys,” Helvie said.
Police on both sides of the state line say they expect additional charges to be filed.
Dorsey has a lengthy criminal record that includes convictions for assault on a law enforcement officer and multiple counts of burglary, stealing a motor vehicle and resisting arrest, according to court records.
He was serving an eight-year prison sentence for Jackson County convictions when released on parole last month.
Similarities in the recent rash of burglaries to homes in south Kansas City, Mission Hills, Prairie Village and the Hallbrook area of Leawood prompted police in those cities to begin working together on the cases.
Hansen said Leawood’s first two incidents involved break-in attempts during which noises awakened residents who chased the intruder away. In one of those incidents, a vehicle was seen leaving the area. It later was found abandoned in Kansas City. That vehicle had been taken in another residential burglary, Hansen said.
Another vehicle was stolen that night near where the first one was abandoned.
Detectives began linking the cases across the state line because of that pattern.
Leawood Detective Jason Ahring said some burglaries already had been committed in Kansas City when Leawood’s first occurred the night of Feb. 7.
Small items like cash and handheld electronic devices usually were taken.
Ahring said the Leawood burglar usually gained entrance through unlocked doors or windows. In some of the Kansas City cases pet doors were used, he said.
“We figured it couldn’t have been a very big guy,” Helvie said.
Dorsey is 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighs 150 pounds, according to corrections department records.
Helvie said officers doing surveillance late Saturday night followed Dorsey into Leawood, where they initially lost him.
Dorsey allegedly walked out of the house carrying a bag of loot but turned and ran back inside. Officers surrounded the house as he ran out the back door. When he saw officers there, he darted back inside. Detectives chased him down inside, Helvie said.
Like most of the other burglary victims, the family that lived there slept through the break-in but was awakened by the commotion.
Helvie said police know of about 13 possible incidents, but believe many other people may have been victimized without realizing it. People who think they may have misplaced cash or a handheld device actually may have been victims, he said.
He said people with concerns should call their local police departments. In Kansas City, people can call the South Patrol property crimes unit at 816-234-5555.
In some cases, residents awoke and found a suspect standing over their beds watching them, but police said no one was touched.
“We’re very fortunate that no victims were injured,” Ahring said.