By Emory Bryan, News On 6
SAPULPA, OK -- Sapulpa police arrested Billy Ray Smith, who they believe is a serial burglar. They say he's admitted burglarizing up to 20 homes.
The burglary arrest came after a rash of jewelry thefts from unoccupied homes. The break in the case came when a homeowner found the burglar in her home ran him off and got his tag number.
"He had a screwdriver and had kicked the door in," said Charlotte McCullough, Burglary Victim.
McCullough arrived home one day last week and says Smith was in her dining room, rifling through her jewelry, which police have now recovered.
"It's still at the police station, he hadn't pawned them because usually they pawn them really fast," said McCullough.
Sapulpa Police Major Jeff Gilliland says Smith couldn't remember all of the places he burglarized, but had exact details on six cases.
"On the ones he confessed to here, it was ‘I went in that house, this is what happened, that's what happened.' We look at the reports, yep, that's exactly what happened there," said Sapulpa Police Major Jeff Gilliland.
The unusual thing about Smith is his age and lack of a prior record.
Gilliland says Smith admitted turning to burglary to pay for a gambling habit.
"This guy was 60-years-old, has no criminal history whatsoever, I don't believe the man even has a speeding ticket on his driving record," said Major Gilliland.
McCullough says after her confrontation with a burglar inside her home, she's more careful now to set her burglar alarm.
"This neighborhood is much better security now because all of our neighbors, some of them set the alarms anyway, but of course now they're all setting their alarms," said McCullough.
Police say Smith purely worked off opportunity by knocking on doors and hoping no one was home.
If someone answered, they say he would come up with an explanation of why he was there, but police say that's a good reason for a homeowner to be suspicious and call them to check someone out.