St. Paul police said a man and woman allegedly stole about a dozen musical instruments from local colleges and scores of other items from open houses.

Police were about to distribute the suspects’ photos and names Friday afternoon when they received a call that Richfield police had arrested them, said St. Paul Sgt. Paul Paulos, a police spokesman.

Paulos said authorities discovered the suspects’ identities with the help of officials at Macalester College, the University of St. Thomas and Hamline University, which were all targeted. Pawnshops and the city’s automated pawn system were also key in cracking the case, he said, adding that the suspects used their real driver’s licenses when they allegedly pawned stolen goods.

Authorities believe the suspects, who have not been charged in the instrument thefts, simply walked into the St. Paul colleges and made off with expensive trombones, violins, guitars, saxophones and other instruments. Paulos said authorities believe they chose those items because of their high dollar value and because they are relatively easy to resell, and that they used that method because they blended in with students.

The suspects also allegedly walked into houses that were for sale and made off with electronic items, medicines and jewelry, Paulos said. The two are traced to more than 100 items pawned this year.

Police said the instrument thefts occurred in the past two to three weeks. The motive is unclear, but Paulos said drug use could be a factor.

The male suspect has not been charged. The woman, Nicole M. Korolchuck, 29, was charged in Ramsey County District Court in early November with two counts of theft of a controlled substance.

According to those charges, Korolchuck walked into an open house on Dayton Avenue, went upstairs while her male companion stayed downstairs, and tried to leave after lingering for an unusually long time.

The person conducting the open house confronted Korolchuck and found the homeowner’s prescription drugs, iPhone, Kindle and jewelry in her purse, the charges said.

Chao Xiong