Oct 13, 2021 1:00 AM

Kan. teen burglarized homes while victims were at church

Posted Oct 13, 2021 1:00 AM
Vega-Alvarez-photo Cowley Co.
Vega-Alvarez-photo Cowley Co.

COWLEY COUNTY—Law enforcement authorities are investigating a suspect in connection with three burglaries that occurred while the occupants were at church.

On October 8, police responded to 416 N. Sixth Street in Arkansas City for a report of a burglary in progress, according to a media release. They arrived and spoke to the homeowner, who reported that he had a security camera inside his home.

While attending a local church service, the victim, a 35-year-old Arkansas City man, observed someone entering his home on the camera and notified police.

Officers cleared the residence and determined the suspect had left before they arrived. Police identified 18-year-old Cristian Alexis Vega-Alvarez as the suspect based on the home security video footage.

The victim said his home had been burglarized a week ago, also while he was attending church, and so he installed the security camera in case the residence was ever burglarized again.

Police later learned another member of the same church, a 29-year-old Arkansas City man, also had his home at 503 N. Eighth St. broken into while he was attending a church service on Sept. 20.

Officers determined Vega-Alvarez previously was a member of the same church as the victims, but recently had quit attending services. They later located him and took him to the police department for questioning, during which officers learned Vega-Alvarez allegedly had committed all three burglaries.

He was taken into custody without incident and booked him into the Cowley County jail on requested charges that include three felony counts of burglary of a dwelling, three misdemeanor counts of theft of property totaling less than $1,500 in value, and one misdemeanor count of criminal damage to property.  He remains in custody.