Police nab accused Thurston Co. organized crime kingpin

Police nab accused Thurston Co. organized crime kingpin »Play Video
Kenneth Linville

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Police say a they've taken down a Thurston County kingpin and his crime ring.

In all, 11 accused burglars were arrested by a team of investigators from multiple agencies. The arrests also netted thousands of dollars in stolen jewelry, firearms, coins, electronics and large quantities of oxycodone.

"We found this back door kicked open a bedroom ransacked, our TV gone," said Olympia's Mary Griffin.

She and her husband discovered the break-in last month when they returned home from an overnight trip. The door was wide open and heir 47-inch TV,  electronics and jewelry, including a special and old pocket watch, were all missing.

"Wow, here we are right there," said Griffin, pointing to a police crime map showing 28 addresses where police say the same burglars hit.

The burglaries were scattered throughout Thurston County, including, Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater and parts of incorporated Thurston County. Police say all the homes were burglarized in the same way -- a door was pried open during the day and the house cleaned out.

"We haven't left the house in a month because we haven't felt comfortable," said Griffin. "We haven't felt comfortable. We're getting dead bolts, new doors, security doors."

Police believe all of it is the work of an organized crime ring led by 34-year old Kenneth Linville and his girlfriend, Jessica Hargrave. 

After an intense two-week investigation, police nabbed the duo and nine of their associates. They found bogs of stolen items, thousands of dollars in jewelry, guns, ammo, coins and electronics. And what police confiscated isn't all of it, either. Investigators believe most of the stolen gold was melted down for resale.

"We had a very prolific criminal in our community using associates to go out and ravage our community," said Olympia Police Chief Ronnie Roberts.

Chief Roberts says busting a "prolific" kingpin and crime ring was a multi-agency accomplishment. He said it's the result of this question, asked  in January by the top cops in the Thurston County.

"(They asked) 'How can we work together to solve some of these common problems that we're facing?' We started a regional crime strategy with all the agencies working together and the County prosecutor," Roberts said.

The case began with when an identity theft investigation -- with information shared between departments -- revealed a common link: suspect Kenneth Linville.

Together, pooling their resources, sharing data and connecting with offenders, they built their case and busted the accused kingpin.

"He was someone tied to a lot of other criminals in our county," said the chief.

The bust was welcome news for Griffin.

"I'm really glad they got them," she said.

She said friends in nearby neighborhoods who were also burglarized will be happy to hear this development.

The man police call the "kingpin" will be in court next week to hear the charges against him and enter a plea. Chief Roberts said once all the evidence is cataloged, the police station will open its doors to victims to identify and collect their stolen property.