ERWIN — A Johnson City man was arrested Thursday and charged with theft for his alleged involvement in a pair of recent burglaries that occurred in the south end of Unicoi County.
Matthew Lee Mohlar, 37, last known address 506 E. Myrtle Ave., Apt. 3, Johnson City, was arrested at approximately 3:45 p.m. Thursday by members of the Johnson City Police Department and investigators with the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department. Mohlar has been charged with two counts of aggravated burglary and two counts of theft of property over $1,000 in Unicoi County.
UCSD Chief Investigator Ken Potter said that the first burglary occurred at a home on Tilson Mountain Road on Nov. 21. A 12-gauge Mossberg shotgun, Hewlett Packard laptop computer, small safe, Sony video camera, Quest bow with arrows and a tool box were taken from the residence, Potter said.
Entry to the home was gained through a rear window during the daytime burglary, Potter said. He also said UCSD Major Mike Hensley, who was off-duty and hunting in the area of the burglary, observed a small white car pull into and leave the residence.
Investigators processed the scene and were able to photograph shoe and tire impressions left there and began tracking leads, Potter said.
On Nov. 28, a home on Spring Rock Drive in the county was broken into. Glass in the home was broken to gain entry, Potter said, and an XBox 360, Fender bass guitar and children’s jewelry were taken from the residence.
Potter said a deputy patrolling the area had observed a white car in the area of the burglary.
Last week, UCSD investigators developed Mohlar as a suspect in the break-ins, Potter said, when the check of a Johnson City-area pawn shop turned up the allegedly stolen bass guitar. The shop was able to provide investigators with Mohlar’s name, as he had sold the bass guitar to the pawn shop, Potter said.
“We put several pieces of evidence together and things together, but we were missing the white car,” Potter said Thursday. “The day before yesterday, I received information as to who had this white car and where we could locate him, and we did.”
Investigators were also able to positively identify the white Chevy Cavalier observed at the burglary scenes, Potter said. Potter said Mohlar had borrowed the vehicle on the mornings of the burglaries under the pretense that he needed the car to get to parole hearings. Potter said officials confirmed that Mohlar did not attend parole hearings on the dates of the burglaries.
Other witnesses interviewed told officials they had observed items taken from the homes to be in Mohlar’s possession, Potter said.
On Wednesday, criminal arrest warrants were issued for Mohlar. Potter said Mohlar was on parole out of Washington and Sullivan counties for prior aggravated burglary convictions.
“He has an extensive history of burglary,” Potter said.
On Thursday afternoon, one of Mohlar’s family members got him on the phone with Johnson City Police to answer to the criminal warrants. Law enforcement officials took Mohlar into custody.
Mohlar is scheduled to appear in Unicoi County Sessions Court today for arraignment.