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3 arrested in Ripley burglaries

By Holly Hollman
hhollman@decaturdaily.com340-2445 340-2445

RIPLEY — Two men and a high-school student face multiple burglary charges for allegedly targeting homes in the Ripley community.

Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely said the trio from Ripley, Huntsville and Decatur broke into six homes in the community southwest of Athens.

They allegedly took nearly $10,000 in items ranging from shotguns to DVD players to a "Friday the 13th" movie poster, investigators said.

Blakely said investigators first located a Ripley man who had some of the stolen property.

Blakely identified him as Jaime Valladarez, 20, of 12559 Ripley Road.

"He claimed someone else gave him the items, but he was part of the burglaries," the sheriff said.

Investigators also arrested a 16-year-old Johnson High School student from Huntsville and Manuel Romero Mendoza, 18, of 302 Hillside Road S.W., Decatur.

Blakely said investigators found more stolen property at the juvenile's home.

Guns found in Decatur

"We didn't recover any at the Decatur man's home, but we did find guns believed to have been taken in recent Decatur burglaries," Blakely said.

Decatur police Sgt. Steve Campbell said a Decatur investigator has placed a hold with Limestone on Mendoza for a receiving stolen property investigation in Decatur.

Mendoza and Valladarez are in Limestone County Jail on $12,000 bond each, charged with six counts of third-degree burglary.

Authorities also charged the teen but released him into his parents' custody.

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