When several tools and pieces of equipment were stolen from a city storage shed several months ago, Capt. Jose Salcido promised detectives he’d make them brisket tacos when they solved the case.
Salcido’s phone rang early Thursday morning.
“Hey, where are the brisket tacos?” he was asked.
Acting on information uncovered while working another case, investigators found a building in west Wichita filled with stolen property at about 1 a.m. Thursday.
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“It was just awe-inspiring,” Salcido said of seeing all the stolen property under one roof. “It was just staring back at you.
“ ‘Jackpot!’ ”
Until it was discovered, Salcido said, “we had no idea” the property was all in the same place. Other than the city’s tools and equipment, he said, the other burglaries had gone unnoticed.
Investigators have been able to connect property found on Anna Street to nine burglaries, including several items stolen from the parks and recreation department: leaf blowers, edgers, trimmers and more. A Bobcat remains missing, Salcido said.
That burglary affected the department’s ability to maintain parks, he said.
“People would show up for work, but have no tools to do the job,” Salcido said.
Investigators were able to return much of what was taken from one woman’s house, he said.
“They cleaned her out — furniture and everything,” he said.
A key to solving the cases, Salcido said, was that victims had serial numbers for the property that was taken. Those numbers made it easy to connect the property with its owners.
“It’s actually very rewarding to us to call somebody at 3 in the morning and say, ‘Hey, we recovered your property. Come and get it,’ ” Salcido said.
Investigators are still trying to connect recovered property with its owners, he said, but without serial numbers or documented unique characteristics, the progress is slow.
The discovery reinforces the value of taking photos of and recording serial numbers for personal property, Salcido said. Christmas season offers a perfect opportunity to document gifts and other purchases.
“That’s key for us,” Salcido said. “That’s our bread and butter. If you report your serial numbers, you have a chance of getting it back.”
No arrests have been made in the burglaries, he said, but the investigation is continuing.