‘Pillowcase bandits’ suspected in more than 140 crimes; police returning property to victims

Posted at 10:14 PM, Aug 13, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-14 00:14:52-04

By Jeff McAdam:

BOUNTIFUL, Utah -- It’s been more than three months since Bountiful Police arrested three men in connection with a home burglary spree.

Investigators say Joe Hernandez and his two sons, Jeremy and Isaac, are linked to more than 140 home burglaries--all with the same theme. Charges were dropped against a fourth individual, Thomas Dillon Blymiller.

“These three men would break into homes and steal pillowcases off of pillows and then stuff them with valuables,” said Sgt.Troy Killian of the Bountiful Police Department.

Killian said homes from multiple cities and counties across Salt Lake have reported similar incidents of pillowcases being used to round up jewelry.

The suspects became known as the, “Pillowcase Bandits,” Killian explains.

On Wednesday, Police offered an update and stated that over the course of their three-month investigation, 140 victims had come forward, but since that announcement, Sgt. Killian says their phone has been ringing off the hook with even more alleged victims reporting in.

“We didn’t expect this,” Sgt. Killian said. “We thought this was all wrapped up, and then the calls just started rolling in. We had at least two dozen calls today.”

Anne Marie Jensen said her home was robbed last May, but only this week were police able to confirm items they recovered belonged to her.

“I was so surprised, and thankful,” Jensen said.

She said the pillowcase bandits broke in through a window in her laundry room, stole the pillow off her guest-bedroom bed and then filled it with expensive jewelry from around the house. She estimates the loss at about $10,000.

“But most of it wasn’t valuable,” Jensen said. “It was valuable to us. Our treasures.”

Jensen said she had hoped the investigation would turn up her stolen property, and when she got the call earlier in the week she learned police had recovered most of her property.

“I saw tables full of our stuff at the station,” she explains. “I was so happy.”

Sgt. Killian says they’ve been reuniting a number of victims with their property. That’s the part of the investigation he’s thankful to be a part of.

“There have been a lot of tears, a lot of hugs,” he said. “When you’re able to return something to someone, it’s great.”