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Kans for Kids money stolen in burglary
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HOISINGTON — Kans for Kids is an organization devoted to helping others. For twenty years, the money raised by the organization based out of Hoisington has gone to help families who have a child with cancer.
One of the fundraisers for the group has been the sale of straw bales, managed out of the Co-op in Hoisington by Duane Reif. One-half of the money raised went to Kans for Kids and the other half went to the Labor Day Clown Committee.
Yet on the night of Feb. 9, United Ag Co-op in Hoisington was broken into, and the straw bale money was stolen, amounting to $40.
Cash was also stolen from the Co-op.
Hoisington Police Chief Kenton Doze said that are no leads at this time in the burglary which was a “quick in and out.”
There were also some other break-ins in Hoisington that night. Doze said he doesn’t believe this burglary was related to the string of Co-op burglaries occurring in Kansas.
Authorities in south-central Kansas are investigating several burglaries at rural elevators, but they say the crimes are difficult to solve because of the rural locations and the trusting nature of elevator owners.
The thieves are taking cash, tools and equipment, probably to sell online or to get money for drugs according to authorities.
Dustin Cooke, an investigator with the Kingman County Sheriff’s Department, said at least 15 burglaries reported in recent months at elevators from the Colorado border to Kingman County have involved the theft of tire changers.
Reno County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Steve Lutz said no one has been arrested in the burglaries, and none of the stolen items have been recovered.
The same person or group of people apparently is responsible for most of the thefts, based on what is being stolen, Cooke said.
“All counties involved are sitting at the same place in our investigation,” he said. “We don’t have any leads. They are all similar in what has been taken, but we have nothing to go on.”
Sedgwick County Deputy Sheriff Joel Blogref, who operates the Construction Agriculture Livestock Information Network, which publicizes suspicious rural activities, said the thieves must have a market for some of the unusual items they have taken. A Coats-model tire changer, similar to one stolen at an elevator in the Hamilton County town of Kendall, can be worth between $1,000 and $2,000 on eBay.
“It’s a question we can’t answer,” Cooke said. “It is a very odd type of theft. Resale is the only thing that comes to mind.”
Blogref said he suspects most of the thefts are to raise money for drugs.
“I always attribute most of this stuff to meth,” he said. “It is that big of a problem — drug addiction in general. If you are addicted to drugs, you can’t have a steady job. You can only pawn your own stuff so long.”
Part of the issue is the solitude of farm country.
“They are always a potential target, given the rural nature of the business,” said Scott Anderson, chief operating officer with Hutchinson-based KFSA, which provides insurance and risk management to Kansas elevators.
Reno County’s Lutz urged elevator operators to help thwart the thefts.
“Don’t make it easy for them,” he said. “Try not to be a victim, by making sure stuff is locked up and out of view. Locks keep honest people honest.”
Anderson said elevator operators should have a closing time inspection program, use security cameras and install adequate lighting. He also suggested background checks and drug testing of employees and the use of deadbolt locks and security systems.