Legal system fails to lock up accused serial burglar

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- One Oklahoma City man and an accomplice are accused of being a two-person crime wave.

Joshua Mielenz faces five criminal charges, spanning three counties and countless home break-ins, all in just under a year.

Despite his repeat arrests, the accused thief remains free on bond; he is not behind bars.

One victim wonders why the legal system keeps letting the man out of jail only to resume his alleged criminal ways.

"I came home one day to find out my back door had been kicked in. The house turned upside down," a victim said, who asked us not to use his name.

That victim said, luckily, just hours after his home break-in, police arrested two suspects, Joshua Mielenz and Amanda Austin.

"We were initially thrilled the perpetrators were caught," the victim said.

Unfortunately, that arrest only marked the beginning of the suspects' alleged crime spree.

Homes on 19th St., as well as 32nd St., 44th St. and many more were hit in the following months.

"What initially was relief that they were caught became frustration to know these guys were doing the same thing over and over again," the victim said.

In fact, in addition to the felony charges from his case, Mielenz and Austin were also charged with burglary and larceny in April and then again in August.

"Clearly they have a right to be upset," attorney David Slane said.

Attorney Slane said because none of the crimes involved violence and spanned several jurisdictions, no red flags were probably ever raised to revoke the suspects' bonds.

"In those cases bonds will be low because it's a property crime and the person is probably taking the profits from his theft to pay for his bond," Slane said.

In addtion to the Oklahoma County charges, Mielenz faces theft charges in Canadian County and concealing stolen property in Logan County but is still not in custody.

"Typically if a person is charged with four or five crimes, they're out in the community committing crimes every day, they're just not getting caught every day," Slane said.

One victim wishes the legal system simply would stop letting Mielenz out of jail, potentially preventing future crimes.

"You know, being arrested and charged is not a deterrent for these people," the victim said. "At some point these people can't be trusted to roam the streets."

Amanda Austin is in jail in Oklahoma County but Mielenz is not.

District Attorney David Prater said he's looking to take steps to make sure the suspect can't continue to break the law.

Even before his latest alleged crime spree, Mielenz served time in prison for theft-related charges starting back in 2002.

His most recent arrest came just two weeks ago.

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