Coach's house is target of burglary
Melbourne school officials have expelled three students involved in the burglaries of multiple Melbourne homes.
Three weeks ago The News reported that Jeffery Chase Moser, 18, and two male juveniles were arrested and charged with attempted residential burglary for trying to break into a house on Lacey Street Dec. 29.
As it turns out, they attempted to burglarize the home of their school's basketball coach, Michael Watson.
Moser, a senior who played under Watson, and the two male juveniles, all of Melbourne, allegedly caused over $1,000 worth of damage to Watson's back door in their attempt to break into his residence, according to Izard County Sheriff Tate Lawrence.
Watson told authorities he heard a loud vehicle muffler, followed by multiple, loud thumping noises coming from the back of his house, said Deputy Matt Churchwell, who also investigated the case.
Watson said he didn't have a gun so he turned on a light, called 9-1-1 and told the dispatcher what was happening, according to Churchwell.
Apparently the light warned the amateur burglars; while Watson was on the phone with the 911 dispatcher, he spotted their vehicle backing out of the driveway.
Watson said as the burglars were leaving, they backed under a street light, allowing him to clearly identify the vehicle.
Watson described the vehicle -- a red car with chrome wheels -- and said he recognized the car and knew it belonged to (Jeffery) Chase Moser. In addition to the driver, Watson said there appeared to be two people in the backseat as well.
While investigating the incident, Lawrence said he learned the suspects had spoken with Watson earlier in the day and were under the impression that Watson would be out of town.
Later that evening Izard County Chief Deputy Earnie Blackley interviewed the two juvenile suspects.
One of the boys gave a written statement saying he went to Watson's residence with (Jeffery) Chase Moser and tried to kick the back door down because they thought Watson was not at home. The second juvenile said (he, the other male juvenile and Moser) went to Watson's residence in an attempt to scare their coach.
The day following the attempted burglary of Watson's home, the owner of a residence on Larkin Road reported a second break-in in the Melbourne area. According to the individual, whose name was not released, he had been out of town. He said when he returned home that day, he realized several items were missing from his home, Lawrence said.
On Jan. 1 the two male juveniles charged in the attempted burglary of the Michael Watson home were charged with the burglary of the Larkin Road residence.
On Jan. 14 Lawrence announced that Moser was also suspected in the Larkin Road thefts. In all Moser faces five charges -- attempted residential burglary, residential burglary, theft of property and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of minors. However, this could change; Lawrence said Moser is a person of interest in other cases that are currently under investigation.
Following their original Dec. 29 arrest, Moser was taken to the Izard County Detention Center, and the juveniles were transported to the White River Regional Juvenile Center in Batesville.
Moser, who was released from authorities after posting a $20,000 bond, will be tried under Circuit Judge John Harkey. The two male juveniles were released to their guardians.