Crowbar burglars face more charges |

Crowbar burglars face more charges

Tribune News Service
Joseph Winters

Additional felony charges have been filed against three people accused of operating a burglary ring in Douglas and El Dorado counties.

Amended complaints were filed Wednesday charging the suspects with four counts of burglary each.

Originally, they were charged with two counts.

The suspects, all of South Lake Tahoe, are in custody in Douglas County Jail.

They are:

■ Jeffrey Lee Stephens, 44, $70,155 bail;

■ Jean Rene Winters, 45, $95,655 bail;

■ Joseph Alan Winters, 48, $56,054 bail.

The Winters are married.

On Wednesday, East Fork Judge Tom Perkins vacated a preliminary hearing set for Friday, and set their next court date Nov. 13.

Attorney Michael Novi, of Reno, appointed to represent Stephens, said his client was willing to waive his right to a preliminary hearing within 15 days of his arraignment.

“This will give us time to review the discovery and come up with a game plan,” Novi said.

Attorneys Jamie Henry and Derrick Lopez, representing the Winters, agreed to the continuance.

The suspects allegedly were caught in the act Oct. 18 at a home in Valley Crest Estates behind Home Depot in northern Douglas County.

Earlier that day they were suspected of breaking into a home in the Foothill area on Lakeside Drive. A print at the scene matched the boot of one of the suspects, according to reports.

Additional charges accuse them of burglaries on Parkview Drive in Indian Hills and Inspiration Drive in Zephyr Cove.

The burglaries reportedly occurred Oct. 11-18.

According to reports, the three were in possession of stolen property when they were arrested.

At the scene was a white 2000 Ford Explorer, described in an earlier burglary attempt in Minden.

On Oct. 12, a woman said she was in her home when two men using a crowbar tried to break into her residence on Esmeralda Avenue through the front door.

The woman called 911 and was able to copy the license number that was traced to a South Lake Tahoe man who reported his plate was stolen that day.

The case is being investigated by DCSO, El Dorado County and South Lake Tahoe law enforcement agencies.

The defendants are suspected of a number of similar daytime break-ins.

Anyone who has seen the suspects or their vehicle in their neighborhood, or been contacted by them, is asked to call Douglas investigators Ted Duzan or John Preston at (775) 782-9905.

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