Police nab suspect in break-ins

LAWRENCEVILLE - Authorities say a Central Gwinnett High School student may have single-handedly caused the percentage of vehicle break-ins across eastern Gwinnett to skyrocket earlier this year.

Police said they caught Eric Duncan, 17, a high school senior, with a cache of stolen materials that links him to a widespread looting of vehicles.

In January, police reported a nearly 200 percent surge in such thefts in Gwinnett's east police precinct, a 125-square-mile swath covering portions of several cities and all of Dacula. Investigators had tabulated 96 break-ins the first few weeks of this year against one-third as many in the same period last year.

Seventy-three percent of victims' cars were unlocked.

Duncan was arrested last week and slapped with 11 counts of theft by receiving. Stolen items found at his Hunters Creek Court home in Lawrenceville include desktop computers, thousands in car stereo equipment and other electronics, a 2008 dirt bike valued at $4,400, a truck bed cover and even a Motorola radio belonging to the DeKalb County Fire Department, according to his arrest warrants.

Duncan posted $39,600 bond and was released from the Gwinnett County Jail on Saturday.

Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. David Schiralli said no other arrests were expected in the theft cases as of Monday.

In light of the crime spike, police distributed fliers to homeowners and homeowner associations with tips to deter auto break-ins. High on that list was locking vehicle doors.

Schiralli was unsure if any of the found property had been returned to its rightful owners.