(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one in a series of articles about property crime in Great Bend and the steps that are being taken to address it.)
Brock McPherson told the Great Bend City Council Monday night that he’s “mad as hell” and that he and others who have been the victims of property crime in recent months are going to get together to do something about it.
To be fair, McPherson and the other victims are not the only ones who are concerned about property crime, so are the Great Bend City Council and local police.
And the police are willing to do more, but they were also able to report progress in one area of the continuing city-wide investigation.
While Police Chief Dean Akings and Det. Denton Doze did not announce suspect names Monday night, they did report that an arrest for a stolen vehicle over the weekend did lead to recovery of stolen property from Great Bend and on Monday some of that was tied to particular local break-ins.
Doze told the council that a suspect was taken into custody over the weekend of Oct. 23 in connection with the theft of a vehicle from a local business. The car was taken at Willy J’s, 206 N. U.S. 281, and then recovered by a Barton County Sheriff’s Office deputy.
Doze explained that when the suspect in that case was being interviewed, he indicated he’d also been involved in local vehicle burglaries.
Monday, Doze added, BCSO Det. Rick Popp reported to him that he believed they had stolen property from the city that was recovered in the vehicle.
As that property was identified, it was tied to local reports from the past six or eight weeks and so there was an attempt to interview the suspect again, but he would not cooperate with officials, the detective explained.
However, officers did get permission from a family member to perform a preliminary search at a residence at 2922 Broadway, though nothing was immediately found. However, officers returned when a family member found suspicious items and a search warrant was served at the residence. Items were recovered there and at another local residence, on Eisenhower Court.
Doze said “three truckloads” of suspect property was recovered.
Items recovered were shown to one of the recent victims and positive identifications were made, the detective told the council.
At this point, it appears that 10 cases can be forwarded to the Barton County Attorney’s Office and 14 more are still under investigation.
The plan is to coordinate those so there will be a major case filed at one time, it was added.
McPherson told the council that he and others in his part of Great Bend will not tolerate a continuation of property crime. “We’re going to do something. Somebody’s going to do something.”
At least they plan to organize citizens to keep an eye on residences, but the police have to do their job, too, McPherson urged. “I’ve never seen a police car in our alley. I’ve lived there 27 years.”
GBPD Lt. Scott Harper has worked with Neighborhood Watch programs around Great Bend for years, but he acknowledged that in recent years there has been less activity with those groups.
He is dedicated to making sure that the program is reactivated and residents know how to report suspicious activity.
Anyone interested in developing a Neighborhood Watch program can contact Harper, 793-4120.