Archive for Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Stories from citizens add to theft excitement

January 21, 2004

It's been amazing this week to hear all the talk about the attempted theft at Heritage Tractor Jan. 9. It certainly has been the talk of the town.

Believe me, I've seen the Baldwin rumor mill at its worst, but this was different. Most everyone had their own take on the botched robbery, but what amazed me was people who had their own experience with it.

If you haven't heard about it, there were five of Missouri's "finest" who came down to Baldwin looking to take some John Deere green back with them. Luckily, a local couple noticed something strange going out at the dealership and called 911. The police responded.

Still not satisfied because there was another "sighting," the couple watched and called the Baldwin police again. This time, there was plenty of action when the van the would-be thieves were in was stopped. All five bailed out to try and get away. Two were captured at the van and two later on that night at Black Jack Park. The fifth had apparently gotten away.

I heard from one woman who could view the action outside her home that the two caught at the van got to spend a couple of cold hours handcuffed and waiting as the bizarre scene continued to unfold. That didn't sound like much fun.

Another man was awakened by the sound of a helicopter at his farm east of town. The helicopter was shining its spotlight at his silo and barns. The helicopter then proceeded slowly above the rest of the 160 acres, moving the spotlight back and forth. It wasn't too far from Black Jack.

But where this crazy story takes its strangest twist is the phone call Police Chief Mike McKenna got Monday morning from the "fifth" bandit. He was wanting to get his truck, which was in the police impoundment lot. It was the one the couple first noticed at Heritage that night. The police stopped and talked to the occupants, who said they were lost. Evidently, after that encounter they took the truck to Wellsville and parked it. It got impounded there.

It's a safe bet, too, that the "fifth" who got away, made it over to Wellsville that night and found his truck gone. How he had the guts or, more likely, lack of brains to think he was going to get his truck back, is beyond me. Yes, he was arrested when he came looking for his truck.

But, almost as amazing to me, is that despite pending charges over all of this, these five will likely never face a day in jail over it. Because it's a nonviolent crime, chances are they'll receive nothing more than a fine -- and that's despite multiple previous felony convictions for many of them.

No, I'm afraid this is nothing more than a cost of doing "business" for this crew. Pay the fine and move on ... to the next location. That amazes me, but I'm afraid that's the way things are in this day and age.

The prisons are too full of violent criminals to find space for these five guys. Of course, it would have been different if there had been a gun involved. There wasn't and that probably points to this crew's vast experience in their chosen "field" -- any fine they receive will just be a cost of doing business.

  • **
  • We've had quite the response from our announcement last week that the Signal will be moving publication days from Wednesdays to Thursdays.

But, it hasn't quite soaked in yet for everyone when that will happen. It will be the first week of February, so we've got this issue and next week's Jan. 28 paper yet to go on Wednesdays.

We're glad everyone is getting the news of the switch. We also know it means changes for everyone. I know at least one reader, Jan Darting, knows it's time to put out the trash on Wednesday because she goes out to pick up her Signal. Hope she doesn't miss trash day because she'll be picking up the Signal on Thursday morning instead.

The switch is going to change coverage patterns for us and we're looking forward to it. This week was a good example. When there's a Monday holiday and the city council meeting is moved to Tuesday, we've had to ask for an extended deadline to be sure and get the story in that week. We won't have that anymore.

As far as that goes, Monday holidays have always been nonexistent for me. I always worked them because of the Wednesday paper. That will be different.

  • **
  • We've also had several calls in the last few weeks about the problems with e-mail, etc., with Grapevine or Myvine or whatever it's called this week. We've tried calling them unsuccessfully, too.

I've heard lots of different things regarding the service, especially recently, but sure haven't been able to get anything official enough to use for a story. We'll keep trying, too.

What's amazed me is how many people have bailed out of that service and gotten on elsewhere so quickly. That's the best answer I've heard.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.