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Watchful citizens foil break-in

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By Lisa King

A man was arrested for breaking into at least three cars after several residents called police to tell them what was going on, police said.

Shelbyville Police officer Istvan Kovacs said that after shortly after 11 p.m., on July 17, dispatch received several calls from people describing a man breaking into cars at Hi-Point Apartments. Police arrived to find a man matching their description crouching behind a car in the parking lot.

Shane Stodghill, 30, of the city at large, has been arrested in connection with those break-ins.

Kovacs said that when officers arrived, witnesses told them they had seen Stodghill throw a stereo down when police got there. The stereo had been taken out of the vehicle that Stodghill was found hiding behind, Kovacs said.

He added that police are investigating the possibility that Stodghill may also be involved in a rash of car break-ins that happened about the end of May.

"We continue to investigate to see if there's a connection between that and if he was working with somebody," Kovacs said.

Kovacs said that even though the Hi-Point area does not have an established neighborhood watch, the residents' actions could not have been better.

"They actually caught him there," he said. "They evidently had people on the phone saying, 'Yeah, that's him behind the red jeep with the yellow shirt on.' It was perfect."

"That's exactly how it's supposed to work if you have a good neighborhood watch," he continued.

"I don't know if those folks up there read the paper and have been more vigilant because of that article, but I'd like to think so. There are people watching."

Stodghill remains lodged at the Shelby County Detention Center under a $5,000 cash bond. He is charged with several offenses, including felony theft by unlawful taking, criminal mischief and tampering with physical evidence.

He was arraigned Tuesday in Shelby District Court.