Sheriff’s department reports string of robberies in Maries County

Posted 11/17/21

A string of unrelated robberies in Maries County last week has led to a few leads according to the Maries County Sheriff’s Department.

On Nov. 8 and 9, the 21000 block of Highway 68 in Vichy …

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Sheriff’s department reports string of robberies in Maries County

Posted

A string of unrelated robberies in Maries County last week has led to a few leads according to the Maries County Sheriff’s Department.

On Nov. 8 and 9, the 21000 block of Highway 68 in Vichy was hit several times according to Maries County Chief Deputy Scott John and Deputy Shannon Fannon.

“Last Monday Hays Enterprises was robbed,” John said. “They used to own auto salvage yard in St. James. They buy totaled, fixable cars from insurance companies and resell them.”

Hays Enterprises car lot was hit Nov. 8. 

“They discovered the vehicles had catalytic converters cut off of them and found more Tuesday morning,” John said.

Fannon said she received the first report on Tuesday from Steven Hays and took a second report from him on Wednesday.

“Neighbor Steven Allen up the street got hit on Saturday (Nov. 13),” Fannon said. “They used (Allen’s property) to park their vehicle and stole items out of residences.”

Some of the items left behind were recovered and sent to a private lab to hopefully pull fingerprints. The Missouri State Crime Lab is overwhelmed at the moment and not processing DNA for non-violent crimes.

“The suspects left behind two flashlights and two ball caps — one is a St. Louis Cardinals cap and one is camo,” John said. “We have gotten additional reports throughout the week that people who own sheds or barns in the area discovered someone has been in their sheds and took scrap metal and things had been moved around.”

John estimated a mile to a mile-and-a-half radius in the area was hit.

Hays is offering a $1,000 cash reward for information leading to the thiefs’ arrest. Anyone with information may contact the sheriff’s office at 573-422-3381.

Fannon said she does have leads on the case.

Another vehicle-related theft on Nov. 10 involved a local automobile that was stolen twice — once from the owner and once from the thief.

Vehicle owner Preston Graves of Belle reported Nov. 10 that Elizabeth Jones, who was staying with him, took his 2007 GMC Onvoy without permission.

It was later discovered that Jones left town with Daylee Walters and Ashton Cook, who failed to stay at Life Changers Outreach in Rolla between Nov. 6-7 and is wanted in Maries County.

On Nov. 11, Jones also reported the vehicle was stolen. She said the three of them drove to Owensville and Potosi and on the way back they stopped at LUVS Truck Stop in Rolla to get gas. While she was inside paying for fuel, Daylee and Cook stole the vehicle.

Jones called and told Hays she was going to bring the vehicle back, but it was stolen from her.

“The vehicle is up in St. Louis,” Fannon said. “Graves had a GPS tracker from the company he purchased the vehicle from. They located it and I was able to direct St. Louis police to the address.”

The vehicle was unoccupied and keys were not in it. It has been impounded and is waiting for Graves to pay the impound fee. None of the individuals are in custody.

Robberies continued on Nov. 13 when both fuel stations in Belle were robbed.

A quick-change artist robbed both Casey’s General Store and Thomas Quick Stop on Saturday afternoon. According to John both stations were robbed one right after the other.

Fannon responded to both cases. 

“They buy something small and chat the cashiers up, “Fannon said. “They say something like ‘I’ll pay you with a $50’ and ask if they can break change. Money keeps getting exchanged and the cashier is so confused, before you know it they have handed you $300.”

Casey’s General Store was hit at 2:34 p.m. and lost a little over $300 and Thomas Quick Stop was hit at 2:43 p.m. and lost about $300 according to Fannon. Suspects included two black males, one in his 50s or 60s and the second in his 30s. A third male of undetermined origin was waiting in a newer white Mazda CRV.

“We weren’t notified by Casey’s until about 30 minutes after it happened and by the time we sent out deputies to look for the vehicle it was probably already out of the area,” John said. “The cashier at Thomas Quick Stop the two cashiers thought (the thief) left a $5 tip each.”

Fannon said she is working to recover prints from the bills.