Months-Long Inquiry into Mount Pocono Auto Thefts Nabs Two for Theft and Two More for Obstruction/Hindering

The Allegations: Five Stolen Cars, Three Foot Chases, One Vehicle Chase, 1 K9 Track, a Stolen Handgun, Four Defendants, & 13 Charges 

JUN 23 2022, 6:45pm

Police say Shateek Burks, 18, Mount Pocono, left, was involved in a string of auto thefts and burglaries in Mount Pocono. Jahlea Gary, 19, Coolbaugh Township, right, is jailed on charges of obstruction and hindering police in connection with their investigation and apprehension of Mr. Burks and an alleged juvenile accomplice. She has not been charged in connection with the auto thefts. (Monroe County Correctional Photos)

POCONO SUMMIT – A months-long investigation into a string of commercial burglaries in Mount Pocono yielded results today when the Pocono Mountain Regional Police arrested a Mount Pocono man and a 15-year-old from Coolbaugh Township in connections with the thefts, and two others for hindering the investigation and arrests.

This morning, Shateek Burks, 18, Mount Pocono, was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Kristina Anzini and charged with Burglary (Felony 2), Conspiracy to Receive Stolen Property (Felony 2) Receiving Stolen Property (Felony 2), Firearms not to be carried without a license (Felony 3), Theft (Felony 3), Criminal Trespass (Felony 3), and Flight to Avoid Apprehension (Felony 3). Cash bail was set at $50,000. Mr. Burks was unable to post bail and was committed to the Monroe County Correctional Facility under $50,000 bail.

The 15-year-old boy was charged through the juvenile system with burglary, theft, and receiving allegations. He was committed to a juvenile detention facility.

Police had been investigating a series of auto thefts from Mount Pocono auto repair businesses. The businesses would be broken into where the keys for cars waiting for service were taken and the vehicles were then stolen.

A break in the case came on May 28 when police tried to stop a stolen gray Toyota Camry, taken from Burke’s Tavern in Mount Pocono, in Coolbaugh Township. The vehicle fled and after a pursuit, the Camry stopped. Four individuals ran from the car and eluded the police.

A search yielded a cell phone and virtual wallet belonging to the 15-year-old, as well as a stolen handgun. Police said that the search connected the juvenile to Shateek Burks. At that point, Mr. Burks had not yet come to police attention in connection with the ongoing investigation.

Then, on June 13, police responded to a burglary at A-1 Auto in Mount Pocono. The business had been broken into and a BMW stolen from the lot. Police used security video to put together a description of the suspect. Later that day, the BMW was found at A Pocono Country Place. Witnesses gave the police descriptions of the three individuals they say were with the BMW.

The following day, police responded to a burglary in progress at Pure Auto Motor Sports in Mount Pocono. The caller said a male had broken into the business and was attempting to steal a BMW from the lot. Officers arrived just as a male suspect was leaving the rear of the building. They gave chase but were eluded. A K9 track led police to the rear of Snowshoe Condos in Mount Pocono.  Police say that security footage showed that the Pure Auto suspect appeared to be the same as the person in the A-1 video.

Police then identified Shateek Burks as a suspect in those burglaries, positively identifying him “through past police contacts”, according to a statement.

On June 15th, a homeowner in A Pocono Country Place found a Mercedes Benz parked in his detached garage. Police say that was also taken from A- 1 Auto. PMRPD Chief Chris Wagner said that forensic evidence linked Mr. Burks to both vehicles.

A week later, on June 22, an Audi SUV was reported broken down on route 196 in Coolbaugh. After police responded, they learned that it was stolen earlier that day from Precision Auto in Mount Pocono.

Descriptions of the Audi occupants given by witnesses matched those of Burks and the 15-year-old say police. Witnesses said they left the Audi behind and headed towards A Pocono Country Place. According to police, another witness positively identified Burks and the juvenile as being in the Audi.

While still investigating the stolen Audi, police were called to A Pocono Country Place for a Ford Focus that had just been stolen there. Another homeowner in the development then called police to report a suspicious vehicle had pulled into their driveway, which turned out to be the stolen Focus. Police say that witness descriptions of the two males in the Focus matched those of Burks and the juvenile.

When they then went to the 15-year-old’s home in A Pocono Country Place, the boy fled from the porch into the house. Police surrounded the home and were met by Jahlea Gary. Ms. Gary reportedly denied that either the boy or Mr. Burks was in the house and refused to bring the juvenile out. When police eventually coaxed him out, Mr. Burks jumped from a window in the back.

A lengthy foot chase ensued through the J, K, and L sections of A Pocono Country Place. Mr. Burks eluded police and at some point allegedly went to the home of a 17-year-old friend for help. Police spotted the two together and ordered them to stop. Police say they ran off, with Mr. Burks again evading capture. The 17-year-old was apprehended.

Police later arrested Burks at his mother’s residence in the Snowshoe Condominiums. A search warrant was then served at the apartment, where police say they found evidence linking Mr. Burks to many of the crimes.

Ms. Gary meanwhile was taken into custody for hindering apprehension and prosecution, obstruction of justice, and resisting arrest. Police then discovered that she was already out on bail on different robbery charges filed by state police for an incident in Polk Township on 6/18/2022. She was arraigned and committed to Monroe County Correctional Facility under $10,000 bail.

Chief Wagner said they plan to file an allegation will be filed against the 17-year-old juvenile for hindering apprehension and related charges. That juvenile was released to his parents.

UPDATE JUN 24 2022, 5:15pm: After this story was posted, we received a phone call from Ms. Gary who was anxious to say “I am not a car thief.”

As we correctly reported, Ms. Gary was not alleged to have participated in the theft of the vehicles. In this incident, she was arrested for allegedly hindering the police in their investigation and apprehension of Mr. Burks and the 15-year-old boy in the home who allegedly was Mr. Burks’ accomplice.

Court records show that, after making bail in this matter yesterday, today she was again taken into custody in connection with her separate arrest five days earlier on charges including robbery and assault. It appears from court records that bail in that matter has been revoked and she is back in the county lockup.

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