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Cops: 'Pillowcase burglars' may be connected to murders

Cops: Duo would use victims' pillowcases to stuff stolen items in

MARION COUNTY, Fla. – Authorities arrested the couple they call "the pillowcase burglars" in 60 burglaries across Central Florida, and deputies say they may be connected to two murders.

Darren Decker, 41, and Jessica Baker, 44, have been charged with grand theft and burglary and Marion County deputies say the duo is connected to multiple home burglaries in Marion, Alachua, Sumter, Levy and Citrus counties.

Deputies said authorities across Central Florida have been investigating the burglaries since they started in January 2016.

According to the release, Decker and Baker would break into the homes from the back door and steal guns, jewelry and electronics. They would then use the victims' pillowcases to stuff the stolen items in.

Investigators saw some of the stolen items on Craigslist and followed the duo to a burglary in progress.

"We were able to follow them to Sumter County and observe them acting suspicious near a residence when they lefta few hours later," said Capt.Brian Dotten of Marion County Sheriff's Office. "About an hour later Sumter County called in and let us know that the person that lives at that house identified that her house had been broken into."

The duo was arrested after being pulled over leaving a burglary in Sumter County, deputies said. A search of their home led investigators to connect the husband and wife to two homicides, one in Marion in January and one in Citrus County in March.

Citrus County detectives said they believe the man who was slain woke up in the middle of a burglary and was found beaten and stabbed to death.

"It's a burden that's been lifted for our community because you know these individuals and how violent they are are removed from the streets and that's a big thing," said Capt. Brad Smith of Citrus County Sheriff's Office.

In Marion County, deputies say they found significant evidence connecting the couple to the January homicide where a 57-year-old woman was killed and her jewelry, including a large diamond wedding ring, was missing.

Decker and Baker are being held in the Sumter County Jail. More charges are expected to come in the burglaries and the homicides.