Sheriff's department recovers stolen property

Thieves stole a semi and trailer at 6 a.m. Saturday, from a residence in Burns. The owner heard the truck drive away and assumed his father had taken the vehicle.

At 9:13 p.m. Sunday, Marion County Undersheriff Randal Brazil was advised of a possible stolen trailer and back-hoe parked on a property near 140th and Upland roads, Marion. It also was reported that a semi belonging to the individual in Burns may be located in the same area.

According to a report filed by Brazil, a witness reported seeing a man near a Volvo semi at 7 p.m. Saturday. Also in the yard was a yellow trailer with a Case back-hoe.

When the witness asked the individual what he was doing, the witness was told by the individual that he was working for an oil pipeline company and had parked his trailer on the property because it wasn't properly certified. The witness believed the individual and left the property.

The yellow, 37-foot trailer had an Arkansas tag. Further investigation by Brazil indicated the back-hoe was stolen out of Wichita on Thursday, and was valued at $70,000.

At 11:30 p.m. Sunday, a 1985 white Kenworth with a Kansas tag and writing on the door that indicated it belonged to the Burns resident, was located south of 135th on Union Road, less than a mile from the location of the trailer and back-hoe.

At 8:53 a.m. Monday, the same witness saw the same individual again but this time the witness saw a woman with the man. The witness followed the couple who were traveling in a red or orange Ford Ranger pickup to Florence.

The witness contacted authorities and a chase ensued.

Peabody Police Chief Bruce Burke and Marion County Sheriff Deputy Jim Philpott pursued the pickup with assistance from Marion County Sheriff Lee Becker and Undersheriff Brazil.

Kansas Highway Patrol also assisted with an airplane and trooper Eric Rust also was in pursuit but the suspects escaped apprehension on a county road.

Florence Police Chief Conroy Miller located the Volvo semi on Ninth Street in Florence, between Marion and Main streets. The trailer was located at the former Florence Middle School football field.

The Volvo semi had not been reported stolen until the tag was checked and the owner discovered it had been taken without his knowledge.

Equipment and vehicles taken and recovered in the incident included a 1985 Kenworth semi, valued at $24,000; a 2008 Kaufman flatbed trailer, $17,000; 2006 Case back-hoe, $17,000; 1996 Volvo semi, $10,000, chains, $500; and survey laser/spectra precision, $2,000.

Becker credits the sharp eyes of county residents for the vehicles and equipment being recovered. He reminds residents to call authorities whenever there is suspicious activity.