Archive for Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Officers investigate break-ins at local businesses

Hardware store, liquor store targeted in city; motorcycle also taken

October 18, 2006

Kelly Angell thought about riding his spotless Harley Davidson motorcycle home last week from Angell's Liquor store -- where it was being stored.

Not wanting to take the bike on a dusty road, Angell left the bike inside the store, which is west of Tonganoxie on Kansas Highway 16.

¢ Sgt. Billy Adcox said the Tonganoxie police department has received several calls from local residents who've heard a story about three people on a burglary spree.

¢ The story is not true, officials said.

¢ According to the unfounded story, the sergeant said, a woman knocks on a resident's door. When the person opens the door, two men rush in and steal the residents' belongings.

¢ But Adcox said he knows of no such thefts in Tonganoxie.

¢ "Right now, we have nothing like that going on," Adcox said.

¢ There's also been talk of such thefts in Lawrence and Leavenworth, but Adcox said Tonganoxie police receive daily reports from Lawrence police, but he's not seen any such reports.

¢ "If we have anything like that we'll let the community know, whether through The Mirror, or a community meeting," Adcox said.

¢ Ron Cranor, Leavenworth County undersheriff, said Monday he knew of no such thefts, either.

-- Shawn Linenberger

When he came to work early Thursday morning, Angell regretted his decision.

Overnight, someone using a truck -- which Angell thought might be stolen -- rammed into a side garage door at the business and took off with the motorcycle, valued at $17,000.

And the liquor store wasn't the only business hit by a burglar. Thursday morning, two Tonganoxie businesses were burglarized.

About 4 a.m. Thursday, someone smashed a front door at Pelzl's Do-It Best Hardware, 423 E. Fourth, and stole four weed-eaters totaling $800 in value. About 4:50 a.m., an alarm sounded at JR's Liquor, 107 E. Third, where whiskey and a cash register drawer were taken. Police Sgt. Billy Adcox said he still was awaiting word on the total loss from the liquor store, which is owned by J.R. Lingenfelser.

Both businesses had glass doors.

Adcox said Monday that he thought the two Tonganoxie incidents could have been related.

"It's a possibility; it's kind of hard to say," Adcox said of the two incidents that occurred within an hour of each other.

Although there was no evidence of how a thief or thieves broke into the stores, Adcox did say he was "able to pull (finger)prints" from Pelzl's store.

It's possible the spree in Tonganoxie was connected to the break-in at Angell's Liquor, although Adcox said he hasn't spoken with the detective with the Leavenworth County sheriff's office who is handling that case.

Angell told sheriff's officials the theft occurred after 10 p.m. Wednesday night. He arrived back at the store before 6:30 a.m. Thursday, according to sheriff's reports.

Interesting evidence

When he arrived at the liquor store Thursday morning, Angell found several business cards on the floor from a man in Gladstone, Mo. Angell contacted the man, who said his truck -- a maroon, four-wheel drive, extended cab GMC Sierra truck with a push bumper on its grill -- had been stolen. Angell said there were push-bumper marks on the garage door.

Leonard Ayres, spokesman for the sheriff's office, said the department still is investigating the case. He also said that, at this time, it's uncertain whether the truck actually was stolen, saying that would be speculative.

Angell, who own Angell's Excavating, just east of the liquor store, said there have been a few thefts in the past from his excavating business, but this is the first substantial theft at the liquor store building, which also holds a convenience store and a bait shop.

"They knew that Harley was in there," Angell said. "They almost had to. They must have loaded it up. It was 40 degrees that morning."

The bike had been kept in the building for just four days, Angell said. In addition to losing the bike, a custom car also was scratched during the break-in. Angell said it would cost about $3,000 to restore the vehicle.

"It was pretty costly on my part," Angell said.

Vandalism reported

Adcox said businesses and residential areas, as well as his patrol car, were vandalized late Oct. 9 or early Oct. 10.

Someone painted with silver paint on Richard Dean's optometrist office and at First State Bank and Trust, both of which are in the 400 block of the downtown street.

About five more cases, all homes between the 100 and 300 blocks of Washington to Fourth, also were reported with having the same paint.

Someone painted lines on the buildings and on Adcox's car, but no specific designs or words were used.

Adcox said the paint washed off, at least from his vehicle.

"I think it was too cold and damp for it to set in," Adcox said.

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