Archive for Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Investigation continues in attempted theft

5 men face charges

January 21, 2004

Last Monday morning, police had yet to locate the fifth suspect in an attempted theft that had occurred two days earlier at a local tractor dealership.

But that all changed later that day when Robert Soban entered the Baldwin City Police Department in search of his impounded pickup truck, which police believed had been involved in the robbery at Heritage Tractor late Jan. 9.


"Monday morning I received a call from a man who identified himself as the owner of the truck and said he wanted to come get his truck," Police Chief Mike McKenna said. "I invited him to come over to the police department to pick up his truck. He showed up and was promptly arrested."

McKenna said when Soban entered the police department, he believed he was going to be able to collect his truck and go home to Missouri.

"He seemed agitated at the fact that instead of driving back to Missouri, he was going to the Douglas County Jail," he said.

"The nice thing was that he brought the keys with him so we didn't have to call a locksmith to get in the truck to search it."

The truck Soban was after, McKenna said, had been found abandoned in Wellsville in a convenience store parking lot early Jan. 10.

Police impounded the truck to get a search warrant because it was believed the truck had been used in an attempted theft the prior night at the John Deere dealership east of Baldwin on U.S. Highway 56.

After interrupting the theft of garden tractors, police chased five suspects, capturing two immediately. A manhunt involving several area law enforcement agencies began for the remaining three suspects.

Two of the men were captured in the Black Jack Battlefield area, but the fifth man escaped -- at least until his arrest last Monday.

Daniel W. Crowder, 58, Smithton, Mo., John L. Crowder, 52, Independence, Mo., John H. Stone, Kansas City, Mo., 33, Stacy E. Manos, 30, Kansas City, Mo., and Soban, 30, were each charged in Douglas County District Court with one count of attempted felony theft and one count of misdemeanor criminal damage to property.

Daniel Crowder, John Crowder and Soban were released on bond.

McKenna said the five men arrested have extensive criminal records, and Baldwin police have been working with other law enforcement agencies to determine the suspects' connection to other crimes.

"This is still an ongoing investigation," he said. "We've been working in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies, and we've been fielding inquiries as far away as North Dakota. Their activities have been widespread."

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