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Police say career criminal recently released from prison is arrested again

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LADUE, MO (KTVI) - A career criminal suspect was grabbed by Ladue Police only moments after the crime happened. Cops were giving much of the credit to an observant neighbor.

This is the third time since 1993 detectives have charged 51-year-old Mitchell Leach with burglary. They said he was released from prison just months ago.

The victim, who does not want to be identified, said her family was not at home in the Dunleith subdivision Tuesday afternoon when the suspect kicked in the back door and began stealing jewelry.  The victim said, “Totally creepy, creepy just to know somebody was in our house.”

Ladue Police were alerted by the victim’s neighbor who noticed a suspicious man in the area. Cops said they were on the scene in a few minutes and with the good description from the neighbor a Frontenac officer spotted Mitchell Leach near Litzinger School. Police said he took off into the woods dropping pieces of jewelry while running away. A dozen officers from Ladue and Frontenac surrounded the woods and arrested Leach.  Detective Sgt. Ray Hahs said, “Suspect is a career criminal he’s been in out of prison a number of times.”

He said Leach has been in trouble in many other communities over the years including St. Louis City, Des Peres, and Jefferson County.  The victim said, “It’s just difficult knowing it’s kind of a career criminal that is out and immediately goes back and does the same thing.”  Detective Hahs said, “It is frustrating for us yes.”

There is another message here according to the crime victim, “Be a good neighbor.”  Hahs added, “We had some very good neighbors who are watchful of their other neighbors if it wouldn’t have been for somebody calling about this guy we probably wouldn’t have been able to make this arrest so quickly.”

The neighbor declined to be interviewed. Mitchell Leach is hospitalized, not because of anything that happened during the arrest, police tell me has personal health problems. His bond is 25 thousand dollars.