Events clarified in stolen vehicle case by victim

BY Edward Gehlert, Special Correspondent
Posted 3/27/24

BELLE — An article in last week’s edition of The Advocate titled Property damage escalates to stolen vehicle , home invasion mentioned a vehicle was stolen from Padgett’s Place. The …

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Events clarified in stolen vehicle case by victim


BELLE — An article in last week’s edition of The Advocate titled Property damage escalates to stolen vehicle, home invasion mentioned a vehicle was stolen from Padgett’s Place. The owner of the vehicle is contesting the information provided to the newspaper by local law enforcement.

The incident occurred while on-duty Belle Officer Erican Sugg was actively searching for an individual from Kansas City, Travis Bellomy, who had allegedly caused property damage during a domestic dispute at a residence on Fourth Street.

Following the March 20 article, the victim of the stolen vehicle identified himself as Daryl White, Jr., when he contacted the reporter who wrote the story. Neither White, Jr. nor his vehicle were identified in the original article by name or description. He denied the theft occurred at that location listed and clarified it was from his residence. Additionally, White, Jr, the city’s mayor, denied that he had a family member with him while he was searching for his stolen property.

The original article was written using information received from Gasconade County 911 Computer-aided Dispatch (CAD) Reports and from an interview conducted on March 18 with Belle Marshal Jerry Coborn. Stories in The Advocate and other news sources are regularly written from CAD and law enforcement reports. Typically, victims are not personally known or reached out to for comment.

Coborn was asked to clarify where White, Jr.’s vehicle was taken from, as the Gasconade County CAD Report had multiple addresses listed as his residence. When the call was initially reported, White, Jr.’s vehicle was reported stolen from an address on Linder Lane. Later, the same report listed that his address on Lehnoff Drive. Finally, the report showed that White, Jr.’s address was on South Alvarado Avenue. The Alvarado address matches existing court documents as White Jr.’s place of residence.

When following up with law enforcement regarding White, Jr.’s concerns about the information presented on March 20, Coborn was asked if clarification or a correction would be made to the report for the newspaper to share with the public. The marshal indicated that a correction was unnecessary.

An interview conducted on March 21 with White, Jr. yielded the following comments and chain of events from the March 13 incident.

“Wednesday night we were laying in bed and Beth got up and opened the window. We turned the TV off and a few minutes later Beth said ‘I think there’s somebody in the driveway,’” White, Jr. said.

White, Jr. thought it was someone who was just turning around. His wife looked out the window and told him that she saw lights, however, she couldn’t tell who it was. She also told him that the driver almost hit his Jeep.

“When I got up, I seen them back into the Jeep and I realized it was my truck,” said White, Jr.

At that time, White, Jr. called Sugg on his personal cell phone to report the incident. The officer told him that he was en route from Casey’s. White, Jr. said he then went in search of his vehicle, alone.

“I got in my car. I figured if he was coming from the right side from Casey’s I’d turn left to see if I could catch up with the guy. I drove out to Highway 42,” said White, Jr. “I couldn’t see no taillights or anything so I stopped at that point and the Belle police pulled up behind me at Highway 42. At that time two Maries County deputies pulled up.”

White, Jr. said that Sugg asked if one of the deputies could go to Liberty Church and if the other could search down Highway 42. He said that the deputies went about fifty feet and then turned around. White Jr. stated the deputies told him that they needed to fuel up in case they had to pursue the vehicle.

White, Jr. said the deputies went to 28 Quick Stop and Sugg returned to Belle. Meanwhile, he drove around on county roads looking for his stolen truck and came upon deputies who were engaged in a traffic stop.

“I drove out towards High Gate,” White, Jr. said, “Maries County had a truck stopped that looked like mine, but it wasn’t mine.”

He received a call from Sugg, who told him he needed to return home and fill out the report for his stolen vehicle. After the report was filled out Sugg told him to stay at home and let them handle it.

“A little while later I heard a report my truck had been found. I had somebody call me that said my truck had been found and all the cops was at Capital Energy Gas Company. So, I drove out to Capital Energy. I was under the assumption that maybe I could get my truck back or something,” said White, Jr.

Several deputies were on scene when he arrived as well as Chief Deputy Scott John.

“I pulled in and said, ‘I heard you guys found my truck,’” said White, Jr. “One of the deputies said, ‘Yes, we found it,’ and another deputy said, ‘No, we haven’t found it.’ I said, ‘Well, which one is it?’ At that point, he said, ‘You’ll have to talk to our chief.’”

White, Jr. was told by John that his truck had been found but they were getting ready to set up a K9 search from the vehicle. He said he was not told where his vehicle was located so he returned home.

He was contacted by Sugg after midnight and informed his truck had been found wrecked on Twelfth Street and that the suspect had been arrested by Maries County deputies, who were no longer in the area.

White, Jr. asked Sugg if the county processed the truck. Sugg responded that other than Tim Edwards telling him to stay away from the truck, Maries County used their K9 unit to track the suspect across the field from the truck.

“I said ‘what do we do?’ and at that point he told me he was instructed by the sheriff not to go into the county where the truck was. So, I loaded the truck on my tow truck…and the county line…it was just setting on one side of the road out of the city limits… and he followed me up to my shop,” said White, Jr.

At his shop, Sugg took photos of the truck and was able to pull fingerprints off of the steering wheel. After that, White, Jr. said he returned home and went to bed.

A few days later Sgt. Mark Morgan returned to the holding location of the truck and processed it for additional evidence.

“To this day Maries County hasn’t said anything. Nobody said you can get the truck or anything,” said White, Jr.

He praised the Belle Police Department saying, “Officer Sugg took our report and was so polite and so professional. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have known nothing. As he found out something he kept me up-to-date. He kept me calm, he talked to my wife, he gathered every detail he could gather. I want to commend Officer Sugg with the Belle Police Department. His level of professionalism was second to none.”

White, Jr. cited the reason he called Sugg on his personal cellphone instead of calling 911 was because he had some knowledge of issues with calls being transferred and taking too much time to get a response.

“I did call Sugg immediately because I had his number in my phone and I know the police schedule and knew he was on duty and I was trying to get the best, fastest response I could and I one hundred percent got it,” said White, Jr.