Local men face theft charges
Three Baldwin men, including the son of Baldwin City Police Chief Steve Butell, have been charged with felony theft for allegedly stealing three all-terrain vehicles from Heritage Tractor, 915 Industrial Park Road, between March 31 and April 1.
Shawn C. Butell, 21, Dean R. Taylor, 20, and Garrett Weaver, 20 were arrested April 20 for allegedly stealing the ATVs.
Butell, the son of Baldwin City's chief of police, and Taylor, made their first appearance Thursday in Douglas County District Court. Their preliminary hearings were set for May 22. Weaver, who recently was charged with two counts of arson in Franklin County District Court, is scheduled to make his first court appearance Thursday.
A fourth suspect, Mark Sinclair, was a juvenile at the time of the alleged thefts, and has since turned 18.
Heritage Tractor owner Ken Wagner said an employee came to work April 1 to find that the thre Polaris ATVs, valued at a total of $16,000, had been stolen from their shipping crates outside of the business.
"These guys went through some effort to get these things out of there," Wagner said. "There would have to be assembly done (to the ATVs). They would have to bring a truck and trailer."
Wagner said his business has been the victim of several thefts during the past two years.
"The ATVs, lawn and garden tractors, utility tractors, implements, anything not bolted down to the ground can walk off here," Wagner said. "There have been seven people arrested involving thefts since we opened here two years ago. We haven't caught them all, if that gives you an idea of the problem."
The arrests of the three Baldwin men, Wagner said he was told, occurred after a student at Baldwin High School tipped off school resource office Mike Gammage. The ATVs were recovered about four miles from the city, with about 60 miles of use put on them.