Arrests made in Burglary Case as Wrong Suspect cleared

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office has made an arrest in an early week burglary in the Westminster area. According to investigators, deputies responded to 215 Wisteria Drive in response to a call received from a mother who reported that her daughter’s house was being broken into. She states that a white female had left the scene walking up the road. Later, a male subject entered the residence. She reported that the suspects were driving a Chevrolet Blazer and the caller told dispatchers that she went and removed the keys from the ignition so they could not leave and then stated that her father had a shotgun and was watching the front of the residence until deputies arrived. Westminster Police Officers arrived on the scene and set up a perimeter around the house. When deputies arrived, they went to the door that the compliant stated that the male subject went into. After deputies found the door locked and upon receiving permission from the complainant to make a forced entry into the residence, the deputies did so and made a protective sweep of the residence, whereupon they did not find anyone inside. Deputies report that the male reportedly seen going into the house appeared to have left the residence through a back door as there was glass busted on that door. Upon coming outside to speak with the complainant, deputies reportedly noticed the suspects had set several items besides the Chevrolet Blazer, including a TV, which the victims stated was damaged upon arriving on the scene. The victims told deputies they had bought the TV a couple of weeks ago and paid $400 for it. In addition, several items were found in the Blazer that the victims said belonged to them. An inventory was taken of the vehicle and was towed to the Sheriff’s Office evidence bay. Investigators reportedly began searching for the female seen leaving the area. Investigators were then notified by Westminster Police that a female matching the description given to them by witnesses was seen entering a home at 9449 Long Creek Highway, which is about a quarter mile from the scene of the reported burglary. When deputies arrived on the scene, they reportedly gave verbal commands for the female to come to the door. After no response, deputies called the homeowner who gave investigators permission to enter the home. At that time, deputies found a blond, white female with tattoos matching the description given by witnesses of the suspect in the reported burglary hiding in a closet in the residence, upon which she identified herself as April Licea. After she was questioned, she was transported back to the scene of the reported burglary, upon which three witnesses identified her as the suspect in the reported burglary. According to investigators, Licea voluntarily returned with deputies to the Oconee County Law Enforcement Center. After being interviewed, investigators placed her under arrest and transported to the Oconee County Detention Center, where a Temporary Custody Order was placed upon here. 34-year-old April Reynolds Licea of 9449 Long Creek Highway in Westminster was later charged with burglary in the second degree and grand larceny. Licea was identified by multiple witnesses and investigators had probable cause to arrest April Licea, according to Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw. “While the eyewitness identification can serve as probable cause to issue an arrest warrant, it will never be sufficient in and of itself to obtain the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt when a case goes to court, says Sheriff Crenshaw. “An investigation of a case does not end after an arrest is made.” After the arrest, investigators received a tip stating that the Chevrolet Blazer at the crime scene was stolen. Upon the investigation into the stolen vehicle, investigators interviewed witnesses who told the investigators that reportedly a Steven Allison has stolen the vehicle the night before that was used in the robbery. Investigators then determined that Allison had a daughter with similar physical characteristics to April Licea. Those characteristics include blond hair with a streak of red and similar tattoos on the shoulders. Investigators reportedly at that point had concerns that April Licea was not the female that was involved in the burglary. Licea reportedly pass a lie detector test that was administered the next morning. The investigation continued and new witnesses were interviewed, upon which 22-year-old Brittany Ann Fulbright of 412 Amber Drive in Westminster was arrested and charged with two counts: burglary in the second degree and grand larceny. According to warrants, Fulbright reportedly had “the intent to permanently deprive the owner, take and carry away a flat screen TV, miscellaneous household items, and an OME banjo” and did enter the dwelling of the victim with “the intent to commit a crime therein.” Steven Ranslow Allison of the same address has also been charged with burglary in the second degree and grand larceny in the same incident. “While this is an unfortunate incident, it shows the importance of continuing through with the investigation of any case and continuing to dig and follow leads,” according to Sheriff Crenshaw. “I applaud the efforts of our investigator’s to make sure that the right individuals were arrested and charged in this case and for their hard work in not giving up. We will ask for all charges to be dropped against April Licea when a preliminary hearing is scheduled.”