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More Addicts Turning To Crime To Fuel Drug Habits

Brett Blume
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EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (KMOX) -  Desperate for their next fix, drug addicts are increasingly turning to crime to fuel their habits.

In Madison County Illinois, authorities recently arrested a homeless man suspected of burglarizing at least a half dozen rural homes while the owners were away at work or on vacation.

Sheriff’s spokesman Captain Mike Dixon tells KMOX News that 35-year-old James Stufflebean targeted jewelry, electronics, guns, or anything else of value that he could sell to fuel his addiction.

Dixon says this was an extreme case — Stufflebean’s suspected of racking up more than $7,000 worth of stolen goods — but by no means an isolated one.

“It started last year when the heroin epidemic kind of exploded and we started noticing an increase in burglaries,” Dixon explains. “Last year we had about a 30% increase in residential burglaries in the rural areas of the county.

Probably all of that 30% and even more of the individuals involved in those burglaries that we apprehended were involved with heroin addiction.”

Dixon says through “diligent investigative efforts” they’ve been able to match up most of the belongings recovered after Stufflebean’s arrest with the rightful owners, but some items remain:

*  An antique rectangular bass cello in a tan zip-up case

*  A black Hewlett-Packard laptop computer with silver lines and white circular graphics on its outer casing

*  Epiphone acoustic guitar, black and tan in color, in a hard black case

*  Silver palm-size Cisco-brand video camcorder

Anyone who has information on the possible ownership of these items can contact the Madison County Sheriff’s Office at (618) 692-4433, or the anonymous tip line at (618) 296-3000.

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