Feb 15, 2013 2:04 PM
A person of interest in a string of burglaries that took place in the northern part of Mercer County in the last two weeks has turned himself in to police in Pulaski County.
James C. Lopez Jr. is also a primary suspect in five other counties for similar crimes, investigators said. Lopez said he wanted to turn himself in because of the media attention and put this behind him.
"We've spoken to authorities in Pulaski, Lincoln, Garrard, Boyle and Anderson [counties]," said Mercer County Chief Deputy Scott Elder. "He's catching people not at home. We have a witness who says he'll go to the door and knock. If no one answers he'll go to the back and make entry to the residence."
Shirley and Hershel McKinley discovered their home broken into two weeks ago, one of eight break-ins the Mercer County Sheriff's Office believes Lopez Jr. is connected to along Highway 127.
"You don't feel secure," said Shirley McKinley, who said jewelry, medication and her husband's Glock handgun were stolen from them.
"Whoever hit it, hit it good," said Hershel McKinley. "Whoever did it, did it well. They were apparently good at what they did."
When shown the Facebook picture of Lopez Jr. provided to LEX 18 by the Mercer County Sheriff's Office, the couple said he looked like a family man.
"I wish we would have been home but that's another story," said Hershel McKinley, who told LEX 18 the thief kicked in his back doors so hard he had to replace the locks.
Lopez Jr. had an arrest warrant in Casey County for at least one burglary, deputies said.
Chief Deputy Elder said Lopez Jr. has an extensive criminal history including numerous charges of theft, burglary and receiving stolen property.