Deputies arrest suspect in 3 Augusta County commercial burglaries

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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — UPDATE (April 26):

A week and a half after a string of burglaries at small businesses and a post office in Stuarts Draft, deputies have made an arrest.

According to the Augusta County Sheriff's Office, 37-year-old Jerry Marcus Kesterson II, of Staunton, was arrested this week and charged with multiple counts in connection with not only the recent spate of burglaries, but also a 2018 commercial burglary of Shenandoah Acres Family Campground.

Lt. Caleb Spence with the sheriff's office said DNA came back on the campground burglary while they were investigating the other three break-ins.

"The Augusta County Sheriff's Office is committed to not only protecting and serving the citizens, but also prosecuting individuals involved in criminal activity. Bringing these cases to a close is extremely beneficial to our community," said Sheriff Donald Smith.

Kesterson is believed to be the one who broke into Sam's Hot Dogs on the night of April 14 and stole an undisclosed amount of cash while wearing a dark-colored rain suit.

About a mile away from Sam's, in Broadmoor Plaza, Micah's Coffee and the U.S. Post Office were burglarized in the same night.

Spence said there were several factors that helped them determine the break-ins were connected, including similarities in the crimes.

"This one, we were just very fortunate to have the cooperation of the community as well as this other DNA hit that came back from an older burglary," Spence said.

U.S. Postal Inspectors are helping with the investigation at the Stuarts Draft Post Office.

Kesterson is charged with four counts of breaking and entering, one count of grand larceny, and three counts of misdemeanor larceny.

He's being held at Middle River Regional Jail.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Investigator Tobin, with the Augusta County Sheriff's Office, at 540.245.5333 or CrimeStoppers at 800.322.2017.

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The Augusta County Sheriff's Office believes three separate commercial burglaries in the Stuarts Draft area may all be connected.

According to investigators, the first burglary report came in around 8:45 p.m. on Sunday night.

Deputies were called to the Sam’s Hot Dogs location at 2347 Stuarts Draft Hwy., where they determined someone had forcefully entered the business, where they stole an undisclosed amount of cash.

Surveillance video captured a suspect wearing a dark-colored rain suit, with a logo on the left chest, gloves, eyeglasses, and a hat.

Robert Richardson, the owner of the Sam's Hot Dogs, said he's glad they had alarms and security cameras.

"There's no telling what else could have happened at my business if they would've stuck around longer," Richardson said. "But they were deterred by the alarm probably getting ready to go off."

The following day, deputies were called to the United States Post Office and Micah's Coffee, both located in the Broadmoor Plaza, for reports of burglaries.

Broadmoor Plaza is about a mile from Sam's Hot Dogs. At the post office and the coffee shop, cash and other items were stolen. Given the proximity and similarity in the cases, deputies believe they're all connected.

The sheriff's office is working to identify the person seen in surveillance video at Sam's Hot Dogs, which will help them confirm if all three incidents were committed by the same person.

U.S. Postal Inspectors are helping with the investigation at the Stuarts Draft Post Office.

If you know anything about these burglaries, or know who the person in the surveillance video may be, you're asked to contact the Augusta County Sheriff's Office at 540.245.5333 or CrimeStoppers at 800.322.2017.