Burglary suspect admits to breaking into nearly 60 homes to feed his heroin addiction

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12-17 UPDATE: Derek Ellis was sentenced Tuesday after pleading guilty to burglary.

Ellis was sentenced to six years, with 154 days of jail credit and two years suspended. The time will be spent concurrently with his prior sentence.


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — An Indianapolis man is behind bars accused of breaking into numerous homes.

Court records show the suspect is tied to at least 3 burglaries this week on Indy’s north side.   After being taken into custody, the suspect allegedly admitted to breaking into nearly 5 dozen homes to feed to his drug addiction.

Cutting through a window screen at a home on Kingsley Drive, a thief came face to face with an 11-year-old boy who was home alone on Monday and who made a frantic call to his mom for help.

“He stood and saw him face to face in our living room and was yelling on the phone and yelling to me at the same time, ‘Get out of my house, Get out of my house, I’m calling the police,’” said that boy’s mother.

FOX59 previously reported this burglary.   While that mother didn’t want to be identified, the suspect left after stealing the child’s Playstation and backpack.

The next day, police reports claim the same man broke into a home on Norwaldo.

Officers were then dispatched to the 4400 block of N. Crittenden Avenue around 6:30 p.m. on July 16 for a reported burglary in progress.

The suspect smashed the back window of a home before a neighbor scared him off.

A short time later officers spotted the suspect running from the scene and arrested 27-year-old Derek Ellis.

According to the affidavit, during an interview with police Ellis admitted, “He has broken into approximately 60 houses but he could not remember the exact addresses… in order to support his heroin addiction.”

“The opioid epidemic has shifted from a prescription epidemic to an illicit one.  We’ve been seeing more heroin and fentanyl,” said Philip Huynh with the Indiana University Public Policy Institute.

Huynh wouldn’t speak about Ellis’s case, but says heroin abuse remains a major problem across central Indiana.

“This is an issue that affects everybody in all communities, whether you’re rich or poor, it just affects everybody,” said Huynh.

Leaders with IMPD have frequently claimed drug abuse is the cause of many property crimes across the city.

Ellis made an initial court hearing Friday and a judge set his bond at 80 thousand dollars.   Police say the case remains an active investigation and additional criminal charges could be filed.

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