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Tue, Oct. 22

Over $20,000 stolen from Cornville residents
Detective’s knowledge of suspect’s background helps crack case

James Hawthorne, 55, Jessica Warwick, 20, and Vincent Heslin, 28, were all arrested in connection to burglaries committed in Cornville in Sept. 2019. (Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office/Courtesy)

James Hawthorne, 55, Jessica Warwick, 20, and Vincent Heslin, 28, were all arrested in connection to burglaries committed in Cornville in Sept. 2019. (Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office/Courtesy)

Three Verde Valley residents are facing burglary and related charges in connection to over $20,000 worth of items allegedly stolen from Cornville residents earlier this month.

Authorities were made aware of the burglaries on Sept. 8 after being dispatched to the 1100 block of E. Willow Point, in Cornville, according to a Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO) news release.

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One of the items reported stolen from Cornville homes and later recovered during an investigation in Sept. 2019. (Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office/Courtesy)

The reporting victim said at least one person had taken numerous valuable items from two homes and several outbuildings on his property, according to the release. Deputies were told the victim’s neighbor had also been burglarized by likely the same suspect/s. Items stolen included a 2008 Polaris Ranger, homemade trailer, several expensive bicycles, televisions, a lawn mower and large quantity of tools.

A detective specializing in property crimes was assigned to the case and after reviewing a complete list of stolen property, recalled a prior investigation involving 55-year-old James Hawthorne from Cottonwood, the release states.

“Some of the property stolen in the current burglaries is not typical of items stolen, i.e. fishing poles, tackle boxes and specialized tools,” YCSO spokesperson Dwight D’Evelyn wrote in the release. “Just such items were recovered during a previous service search warrant at Hawthorne’s house.”

An anonymous source had also contacted the detective recently and shared that Hawthorne was scouting properties in the Oak Creek area to burglarize, according to the release.

Based on this knowledge, the detective drove by Hawthorne’s house in the 2700 block of Yuma Circle, Cottonwood, on Sept. 10 and spotted a side-by-side vehicle looking similar to the stolen Polaris Ranger.

The owner of the Ranger was contacted and provided details on some of the customization he had done to the vehicle. Detectives returned to Yuma Circle and, using binoculars, were able to confirm the vehicle on Hawthorne’s property belonged to the victim, YCSO reported.

Detectives tried to confront Hawthorne about their investigation at his house, but no one answered the door even though they could hear someone moving inside, D’Evelyn said.

As they worked to get a search warrant processed, a car pulled into Hawthorne’s driveway. Its two occupants were detained and the case detective knew one of them to be 28-year-old Vincent Heslin from Rimrock, for Heslin had served prison time for a prior burglary conviction, YCSO reported.

The vehicle was searched and detectives found drug paraphernalia along with stolen tools and personal papers belonging to one of the burglary victims, YCSO reported. The other occupant in Heslin’s vehicle provided part of a puzzle implicating Heslin and Hawthorne in the burglaries.

Heslin was arrested and booked into the Yavapai County jail in Camp Verde on charges of possession of burglary tools, two counts of residential burglary, vandalism, theft and vehicle theft. He is being held without bond on a probation violation.

By the time the warrant was served for Hawthorne’s home, no one appeared to be inside, but the house was filled with tools, bicycles, antiques, and other miscellaneous items, YCSO reported.

“The tools completely covered the living room floor and there were power and hand tools piled behind the couch,” D’Evelyn wrote in the release. “The detective noted you could hardly walk through the room without tripping on mounds of tools.”

Two “specialized” bikes were also found in the kitchen and in Hawthorne’s bedroom were three fully-loaded firearms, D’Evelyn wrote. Many of the items found were confirmed to be those stolen from the homes in Cornville.

Hawthorne was found and arrested on Sept. 12 during a traffic stop. He was cooperative and provided details as to his involvement and those who assisted him in both burglaries, YCSO reported. He was booked into the Yavapai County jail on charges of theft, two counts of burglary, weapons offense, vandalism, vehicle theft and possession of a controlled substance – he allegedly had meth on him at the time of his arrest. He is also being held without bond due to a probation violation.

Based on findings from the investigation, the final suspect believed to be involved in the burglaries is 20-year-old Jessica Warwick from Cottonwood, YCSO reported.

Warwick was found in the Cornville area and arrested on a Cottonwood warrant on Sept. 12. She was charged for her involvement in the burglaries and booked into the Yavapai County jail, where she remains on a $10,750 bond.

“The investigation continues into the property recovered and other crimes that may be linked to the suspects,” D’Evelyn wrote.

Follow Max Efrein on Twitter @mefrein, email him at mefrein@prescottaz.com or call him at 928-445-3333 ext. 1105.

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