By Angie Thompson

TIFTON -- Investigators believe the arrest of a 17-year-old Tifton youth solves a string of burglaries committed in Tift County since August. Many of the burglaries occurred during the night as homeowners slept.

"It is always a frightening thought that someone has been in your house while you were asleep," said Capt. Bobby Brannen of the Tift County Sheriff's Department. "You have a greater potential for something to happen. You could have a confrontation and someone could get hurt."

Reginald E. Pittman, who gave his address as 320 E. Golden Road, Lot C-2, is believed to have most recently lived at Pine Hill Mobile Home Park. Pittman was arrested Friday after the grandfather of a resident on Babe Hall Road spotted him running.

Pittman was arrested in the area after a short foot chase. Investigators believe Pittman burglarized the same Babe Hall Road home in October.

The other burglaries occurred in Oak Ridge Mobile Home Park and Pine Hill Mobile Home Park

Pittman is charged with 14 burglaries, all residential, one count of theft by taking automobile and three counts of entering automobiles. He is also charged with giving false information to a law enforcement officer.

In the case of the automobile theft, Brannen said Pittman stole car keys and took the vehicle on a joy ride. The vehicle was returned.

The string of offenses began in mid-August. Brannen anticipates his department will charge Pittman with an additional burglary.

Pittman is believed to have entered the residences he burglarized through unlocked windows and by prying open windows and doors. Stolen were various weapons, including two pistols, a Remington shotgun and a rifle. Other items reportedly taken include video games, cigarettes, jewelry and quarters from a jar. One man reported that he discovered $30 was missing from his wallet that he left on the kitchen counter before he retired at 9:30 p.m. He discovered his home had been burglarized at 4 the next morning.

Brannen said Pittman had "cooperated to some degree" and investigators have been able to recover some of the estimated over $10,000 worth of property and currency stolen.

"As the investigation continues, we hope to recover more," said Brannen. "He still had some of the items in his possession at his (Pine Hill) residence. Sometimes when you clear up something like this, you can get some things back, but a lot of times, they don't want to get their friends in trouble."

Brannen said his department investigates more burglaries during December and then reported cases will decline again in February.

To contact reporter Angie Thompson, call 382-4321, ext. 208.

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