On Wednesday, East Ridge Police was called to the 3600 block of Weldon Drive where they found several school-related items tossed on the ground. 
Officers found out to whom the items belonged and when they contacted her, she said they were in her backpack in her vehicle. When she checked she discovered the backpack, along with some electronics, missing. 

During this time a black 2007 Kia Optima drove by which was unfamiliar to the residents.  Officers noticed the temporary tag had been altered and one of the brake lights was not working.  When officers stopped the car for these traffic violations, they saw the stolen backpack and electronics inside the car. 

The driver, Leandrese McDowell, 28, and the passenger, Rashawn Caslin, 21, were removed from the vehicle and searched.  Officers found a loaded Taurus .380 handgun. The gun’s serial number was checked and the gun had been reported stolen.

McDowell was also found to be driving on a suspended license.  Both men were taken to the East Ridge Police Department and the car impounded.   A search of the car resulted in more property from three yet unreported auto burglaries.

McDowell and Caslin were arrested and taken to the Hamilton County Jail. They are charged with auto burglary and theft-related charges. Additional charges are pending the investigation of surveillance footage and seized property.

The East Ridge Police Department strongly urges residents to remove valuables from their vehicles and lock all doors at night. All of the vehicle burglaries by McDowell and Caslin involved unlocked cars after dark. Surveillance footage captured by a resident showed other attempts on vehicles the were abandoned whe the suspects found the vehicles locked.