Jewelry thief helps police, but doesn't stop crime spree

A jewelry thief is in jail for simultaneously supplying police with information while continuing to rob businesses across the metro.

Travis Lee Burrell, 31, and his alleged accomplice, Charles Lee Spann, 24, were finally arrested this week for the theft of thousands of dollars' worth of jewelry since April.

Burrell told Burnsville police he was only about one percent responsible for about 10 jewelry thefts across the metro this summer.

Once identified as a suspect Burrell offered to give police information. In July, he admitted to police he planned, oversaw or was the getaway driver in the thefts.

The first theft listed in a search warrant happened in late April. Burrell helped steal a $50,000 ring from a store in Burnsville. In May, he oversaw the lift of a $2,500 ring in Maplewood.

In June, Burrell helped rob a jewelry store in St. Paul, ultimately getting away with a $13,000 ring. The next day he helped rob a St. Paul pawn shop of a ring worth $1,000.

Burrell's jewelry theft hit-list extends to Blaine, where oversaw the thefts of a couple rings worth nearly $22,000 dollars.

Later in June, Burrell was involved in the theft of a $6,000 ring from Inver Grove Heights. After a couple days, he also stole a ring from another St. Paul jeweler. In Burnsville, he once again helped lift a $4,200 necklace, claiming an accomplice acted as a pawn in the theft.

After telling police about that lift, Burrell signed up as a confidential informant, agreeing he'd obey the law.
But in July, at least four more theft calls rolled in. Burrell was at least 50 percent responsible for all of them. Together, the stolen goods are worth nearly $41,000.

Burrell even spoke to police and said he'd turn himself in, but not before employees at a Coon Rapids Pawn American then reported a jewelry theft. Police then issued a crime alert.

On the other side of the metro in St. Louis Park the folks at Bergstrom Jewelers caught wind of Burrell's plot. Once he walked in their store, they called 911.Burrell and Spann, his alleged accomplice were quickly arrested.

Burrell faces five charges including theft, false claims to a public officer, and violating his parole.
His next court appearance is set for next month.