Archive for Thursday, February 19, 2004

5 arrested in Heritage theft suspected in other crimes

February 19, 2004

Olathe police expect to have arrest warrants issued by the end of the week for some of the same men who were arrested in Baldwin for attempting to steal tractors earlier this year.

Detective David Weber of the Olathe Police Department said he anticipates warrants to be issued Friday for several of the same men who were arrested by Baldwin police in January after attempting to steal lawn tractors from Heritage Tractor.

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Weber said the men are suspected in the thefts of several lawn tractors and all-terrain vehicles from the Olathe area dating back to April 2003.

Stacy E. Manos, 30, North Kansas City, Mo., Daniel W. Crowder, 58, Smithton, Mo., John H. Stone, 33, Kansas City, Mo., John L. Crowder, 52, Independence, Mo., and Robert L. Soban, 30, Kansas City, Mo. were arrested after witnesses alerted police about suspicious activity at Heritage Tractor Jan. 10.

Police chased the five men in a van after officers discovered lawn tractors loaded into a rental truck at the local John Deere dealership.

Two men were arrested when the van was pulled over, but three fled into the field. Two of the three men were later captured at Black Jack Park after local and area police searched the area with a helicopter and a canine unit.

The fifth man was arrested a couple of days later after he went to the Baldwin Police Department to claim his pickup, which officers had seized in Wellsville.

The five men were each charged in Douglas County District Court with one count of attempted felony theft and one count of misdemeanor criminal damage to property. They were later released on bond. Douglas County prosecutors are still working on the case.

Weber said two of the men are cooperating with Olathe police on the investigation.

"They've provided some reliable information," he said. "We've already recovered three more stolen lawnmowers."

Weber said the arrests of the men in Baldwin was fortunate, especially since Olathe police have been investigating the men for several months.

"We've had similar thefts involving U-Haul-type vehicles," he said. "We'd been aware of it well before the Baldwin incident."

Police are also investigating whether the men are connected to several more thefts in Douglas County as well as the Kansas City area.

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