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Published: Thursday, 3/21/2002

Kmart theft similar to Michigan crimes

Oregon police are investigating whether two small fires and the theft of video cameras from the Kmart at 2830 Navarre Ave. are related to similar cases in Taylor, Mich.

Oregon detectives want to pur|sue burglary, aggravated arson, theft, and criminal damaging charges against three suspects in the March 10 incident.

About 10:15 p.m., authorities found a burned-out fire in a paint aisle and in a back stockroom.

Four video cameras worth about $1,200 were stolen, but authorities recovered one of them near a loading dock.

The incident fits a pattern of setting fires as a diversion and breaking into the stockroom to steal electronics, Detective Gerry Amborski said yesterday.

Last week, the detective interviewed Jerry Hackett, 35, of Oak Harbor, Ohio, for about 45 minutes in the Taylor jail. No charges have been filed in the Ohio case.

Hackett has been charged in Michigan with arson of real property, larceny in a building, at|tempted arson of real property, and attempted larceny in a building.

He allegedly was involved in similar incidents at a Big Kmart and a Super Kmart in Taylor. He was jailed in lieu of $250,000 cash bond.

"He's the only person I've been able to talk to," Detective Amborski said. "He identified three other people who may be involved."

In Oregon, the suspects pried doors open leading to the automotive stockroom. They pulled back chicken wire and pushed aside filing cabinets to gain entry to the electronics stockroom. The fires and theft were not caught on surveillance tape.

A security guard, who is not a suspect, apparently left the building about 7 p.m., and the surveillance cameras were "not in operation," according to police.

"The security officer went home and turned them off," the detective said. "He had only been on the job for a few months. ... It's apparent he didn't know better."

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