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Burglars steal valuable heirlooms from North Salt Lake home

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Posted at 4:41 PM, Jul 26, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-26 20:50:24-04

NORTH SALT LAKE, Utah - An elderly couple had their home burglarized by two suspected drug addicts, and police say one of them is familiar.

Police say the suspects spent hours, possibly days, in the home of the North Salt Lake couple, taking rare coins, gold nuggets, jewelry and some antique pistols.

83-year-old Charles Morris and his wife returned from their annual trip to California to find their home had been ransacked, and valuables gathered over a lifetime stuffed into their minivan, which was also stolen.

"The suspects in this case went through every room and dumped every drawer, emptied everything out," said North Salt Lake Police Assistant Chief Troy Johnson.

A stolen checkbook cracked the case for detectives, and police were able to identify Jason Kettler and Chauntae Thompson as the suspects. Police say the couple gave or traded the checkbook to other meth users, who then allegedly started forging and using checks in Salt Lake County.

"And at every stop during the investigation those two names were connected, at every point," Johnson said.

Some of the items have been returned, but others are still missing.

"He had three bags that had 1,000 coins each and we only got one bag back. Silver bars, chunks of silver that we recovered for him. This is his great grandfather's pocket watch," Johnson said.

Morris is still missing a 1930s-era Gibson guitar, an antique military Colt pistol and an 1890s-era .32-caliber Smith and Wesson that is in mint condition.

But Morris says the value of the items isn't the worst thing they've lost. The couple says their sense of violation may never go away.

"You know it's not the value of these things. It's being violated, primarily, and the most important things I lost is my heirlooms," Morris said.

Jason Kettler and Chauntae Thompson also suspected in another garage burglary earlier this month in Riverton. The suspects then allegedly used the victim's credit cards for an illegal shopping spree.

"I was right there in the front yard. And he pulled in the driveway like he lived here," said homeowner and burglary victim Jen Bevan.

Kettler and Thompson are currently in the Salt Lake County Jail charged in connection with the Riverton burglary, and now they're facing charges in Davis County.

Anyone with information about the stolen items is asked to call North Salt Lake Police at 801-335-8650.