The Barton County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies are investigating after BCSO deputies recovered two stolen vehicles from other counties in separate incidents since Friday, according to Barton County Sheriff Brian Bellendir.
In the first incident Friday just after 1 p.m., Bellendir said BCSO received a “Crime Stoppers” tip about an allegedly stolen vehicle that had been abandoned in the Arkansas River in Barton County. Deputies subsequently searched the area with the department drone and located a 2004 Dodge 3500 truck stuck in the sand east of the diversion dam. The vehicle had been reported stolen from Rush County and, Bellendir said it appeared it had been abandoned in the river.
BCSO, along with local wrecker companies, were able to remove the vehicle and return it to Rush County, where the theft is being investigated by the Rush County Sheriff’s Office.
In the second incident around 1:30 a.m. Monday, a Barton County deputy sheriff reportedly attempted to stop a 1989 Ford F-350 with a license plate which had expired in 2017. When the deputy signaled the driver to stop, the suspect vehicle fled for approximately five miles. Due to the dusty conditions on the gravel road, the deputy was forced to stay back from the vehicle at safe distance.
According to Bellendir, evidence suggests the driver exited the vehicle at the intersection of NW 130 Avenue and NW 140 Road in rural Barton County, and fled on foot. BCSO deputies, along with the K-9 officer from Great Bend Police Department, searched the area and were unable to locate the suspect.
Upon investigation, officers determined the vehicle had been stolen from Rooks County. The vehicle was impounded, and the incident is under investigation.