Two individuals were arrested Sunday, Feb. 21 for a string of Barton County burglaries after being discovered in possession of a stolen vehicle and other reported stolen property.
According to Barton County Sheriff Brian Bellendir, over the course of last several weeks from late January to mid-February, BCSO had taken several burglary reports, with losses estimated in the tens of thousands of dollars. This included a report of a stolen 2004 Chevrolet Avalanche in Barton County on Saturday, Feb. 20.
The vehicle was located the next evening by the Larned Police Department and Pawnee County Sheriff’s Office. The occupants of the vehicle were arrested by PCSO for drug charges, as well as for possessing the stolen vehicle. When BCSO recovered the vehicle, officers noted what appeared to be property matching the description of stolen property from multiple Barton County thefts.
Over the last week, BCSO deputies and detectives have been conducting an investigation which led to the search of a residence in Hoisington and recovered a substantial amount of stolen property, Bellendir said. At least six burglaries in Barton County have been cleared, with the possibility of more being solved pending investigation. The suspects, who had been arrested on the Pawnee County drug charges, were in the Barton County Jail during this investigation.
Two suspects have been booked for the burglaries: Edward Johnson, 51, and Austin Lemonds, 33, both of Hoisington. Both have been charged with two counts of burglary of a residence, three counts of burglary of a non-dwelling, four counts of criminal damage to property, four counts of conspiracy to commit burglary, four counts of criminal damage to property and three counts of criminal trespass. Johnson and Lemonds are both being held in lieu of a $20,000 bond for the burglaries. This is in addition to the bond for the drug charges from Pawnee County.
Not all of the property from the burglaries has been recovered. BCSO is still looking for a Polaris Ranger ATV, a trailer, plasma cutters, as well as other welding and shop equipment, and is seeking the public’s assistance in locating those items.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers of Barton County at 620-792-1300 or 888-305-1300.
Bellendir said they would appreciate any information citizens may have. All calls are anonymous.