Retired Tulsa Detective Wants Stricter Punishment For Burglars
TULSA, Oklahoma -
A retired police detective says he's not surprised a burglar who broke into his house, has now done it again. In fact, the detective predicted it.
This is now the suspect's fourth burglary case.
Steve Colburn says he knew the burglar who broke into his house would go out and do it again if he wasn't sent to prison, so he wasn't surprised when he learned a few months later, that's exactly what happened.
"I'm tired of burglary being treated as a non-violent crime. It's extremely violent," said Steve Colburn, retired TPD detective and burglary victim.
Colburn ought to know. He worked burglary at TPD for five years and homicide for 10 during his 24 years in the job. He says he often saw burglars who raped or killed.
"One leads to the other," he said.
A burglar broke into Steve's house last January, first came into the garage and went through his car, then came into the house, up to his desk and stole some check books and the jacket hanging on the chair. Officers caught the guy hiding under a car across the street, high on meth. The suspect was wearing Steve's jacket with his checks still in the pocket.
"He goes, 'Steve Colburn, FOP Credit Union,' I know Steve Colburn, and you are not Steve Colburn," the retired detective said.
That man was Gary Allen. He was charged with Steve's break-in plus stealing a car that day. Records show he had two previous burglary convictions. Then Steve learned Allen was offered a chance at veteran's court, rather than prison.
"I said that day they called me and said don't come to court, 'he will do it again if you guys let him out,' and so here we are."
Just a few days ago, Police arrested Allen again. They say he was high again, with guns just taken from a Jenks burglary moments earlier. He's not yet been charged in that case.
Steve says something has to change.
"Burglars are violent criminals. If somebody will break into your house, they will hurt you and kill you," the retired detective said.
But because burglary is considered a property crime, a non-violent crime, suspects often get offered plea deals, deferred sentences or probation. They tell me they have to leave room in the prisons for the really violent criminals like rapists, robbers and murderers.