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Few find belongings at cop’s display of stolen property

Some of the stolen property on display Wednesday that was recovered by Tucson police included rings, a watch and other jewelry.

Some of the stolen property on display Wednesday that was recovered by Tucson police included rings, a watch and other jewelry.

Burglary victims turned out to look at stolen property displayed by Tucson police Wednesday, hoping to retrieve some of their possessions.

Most left empty-handed, the disappointment apparent on their faces.

The recovered items were on display from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at a police property and evidence building on East Ohio Street near South Park Avenue.

By 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, 22 burglary victims had trooped through the evidence display, and four had found possessions that had been stolen.

An hour later, a fifth person also was successful.

Carmen Montijo, 52, found nearly all of her stolen property, mostly jewelry from her husband of 25 years.She also found the wedding ring she gave her mother on her 25th wedding anniversary.

More than 60 people searched for stolen property and 10 found some of their lost possessions – mostly jewelry and computer components, said Detective Sgt. Ronald Thompson.

He said the recovery of lost items will help provide evidence in a case that investigators are working that involves a large group of suspects.

Thompson would not elaborate because the investigation is ongoing, but said the majority of the stolen property displayed Wednesday is connected to one case.

Victims talked about feeling violated by burglars who breached their homes.

Since the Feb. 26 burglary at Montijo’s home, she and her family make sure the doors and windows are locked when they leave, and are considering having security bars put on their home near North Flowing Wells Road and West Miracle Mile.

“It’s not a good feeling to not feel secure in your home,” Montijo said.

University of Arizona student Iylea Olson, 24, is one whose property remains missing.

Her midtown home was broken into Feb. 18 and nearly $3,000 worth of property – a bicycle, DVDs and jewelry – was taken.

Olson said she is disappointed, “but, it’s stuff. You can get more stuff.

“For me,” Olson said, “it is the sense of violation; someone was in my house.”

Among the sentimental stolen items was a fired rifle cartridge from her grandfather’s military funeral.

When the World War II Army Air Corps veteran died in 1997, he was given a gun salute at his funeral. His granddaughter saved a cartridge case from that salute.

It was among the items taken, probably, Olson said, when everything was swept from the shelf where it was kept.

Thompson said feelings of violation among burglary victims are common.

“The sense of no security. People really do feel violated, you know – somebody is in their home,” Thompson said.

Victims agree.

“My emotional feeling is I could kill the guy. I want to come home and sleep, home is safe, it’s home,” said Arthur R. Olivas, 69, whose South Side home was burgled three or four years ago.

Olivas found none of his belongings Wednesday.

“It’s amazing to see this stuff and realize it happens to so many people, day to day,” Olson said, looking over tables of gold coins, jewelry, watches, computers, accessories and cell phones, all recovered from pawn shops and from police searches in various investigations.

“We average about 7,000 per year, that’s home burglaries,” Thompson said.

The property on display Wednesday represents loot from about 100 burglaries since July, he said.

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