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Rash of burglaries worries victim

Staff writer

Kevin Jost is one of several in western Marion County hit by burglars, and he’s worried the thieves aren’t done stealing.

A skid steer, ATV, and trailer were stolen Aug. 22 from Jost’s property on Chisholm Trail Rd. The skid steer was abandoned after being driven 100 feet, but the trailer and ATV were not reclaimed until the next day.

“There was a lot of damage they could have done,” he said. “It has glass windows and all that.”

A neighbor witnessed the thieves driving the stolen equipment Aug. 23 and he, Jost, and Jost’s son gave chase in their vehicles until the burglars abandoned both the trailer and ATV.

“There was never anything threatening, but I think even the sheriff’s department was amazed at how quick a response there was,” Jost said. “We’re not vigilantes but we are going to protect our property.”

The skid steer and ATV both were damaged when they were recovered. The skid steer’s radio had been torn out and thrown away, and the ATV’s ignition was torn out, Jost said.

Causing extreme bodily harm is not legal but defending oneself and one’s property has legal precedent, county attorney Joel Ensey said.

“You have to be reasonable under the circumstances,” Joel Ensey said. “What reasonable means always depends on the circumstances. It would be a factual-specific scenario on what people do.”

The frequency and location of recent burglaries leads Jost to believe some are related.

It could be that all or some recent incidents around western Marion County are being committed by the same people, but sheriff Rob Craft doesn’t know if the incidents are connected.

“Often, it’s that small percent of the population that commits 90% percent of the crimes,” he said. “Is there a link? It’s possible it’s the same person, but it’s also possible it’s not the same person or criminal element.”

Jost didn’t believe the burglars were from Marion County, but did think it was premeditated.

“I think it was planned and I think they just got scared,” he said. “Fortunately, we got our stuff back.”

One way to cut down on burglaries might be to not provide further opportunity before they even reach court, Jost said.

“Let’s not arrest these guys and then send them back out with a green card to steal more stuff while they’re waiting to appear in court, then not do anything to them when they’re in court,” Jost said. “I don’t want to ruin anyone’s life, but when do we start sending a signal for Marion County that we’re not going to tolerate this activity?”

A higher bond sometimes will be set if the defendant is a repeat offender. Setting the bond is required except in extreme circumstances, Ensey said.

“The court can look at those and set a higher bond, but you do have that presumption of innocence,” Ensey said. “There are times where you can revoke a bond, but they get a new bond. A lot of times people make bond and I’m not quite sure how they’re making bond.”

Jost and other landowners have been putting up game cameras and trying to assist law enforcement.

“A lot of times citizen help is what does help us,” Craft said. “They might hear something or know something and we’ll have to take that and follow up with it. I’m grateful for it.”

Dealing with burglaries is difficult because there is no telling how someone will react in the moment, which increases the importance of notifying law enforcement, Jost said.

“Someone needs to send a signal to not come here,” he said. “Something is going to end up happening that’s really bad and it might happen to me.”

Other burglaries included Aug. 1 to Aug. 11 when $26,000 worth of property, including a 1977 Chevrolet Blazer was stolen near 240th and Bison Rds., and May 20 to 24 when $2,910 worth of items, including a washer and generator, were stolen from an abandoned building on 240th Rd.

There also was an incident May 13 to 17 when pipe fittings, water pump parts, water pump records, and a ladder worth $501 total were stolen from a City of Durham pump house on 250th Rd., and May 13 to 15 when a briefcase, respirator, and toolbox valued at $550 total were stolen from a Rural Water District No. 1 pump house in Durham.

Last modified Sept. 2, 2020

 

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