The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

April 23, 2012

Two face charges in thefts, vandalism in Pittsburg area

GIRARD, Kan. — Crawford County sheriff’s deputies arrested two suspects Saturday in connection with recent thefts of vehicles in the Pittsburg area.

Jacob L. Cole, 28, of Nevada, Mo., and Stephen R. Mercer III, 18, of Pittsburg, were located by deputies near Mulberry and taken in for questioning before being charged with two counts of theft, a single count of arson and 10 counts of criminal damage to a mailbox.

The Sheriff’s Department said in a news release Monday that investigators used video recordings to tie Cole and Mercer to the theft of a Ford Explorer from the home of Larry D’Amico at 1167 E. 570th Ave. on April 17 and the theft of a 1995 Mazda truck from the Whispering Pines Mobile Home Park in Pittsburg on April 18.

The Ford Explorer was found wrecked and abandoned in the 1700 block of West Quincy Street in Pittsburg after several mailboxes in the area had been struck by a vehicle. Video surveillance obtained from a residence showed the stolen vehicle following a truck down a county road that proved to be Cole’s truck, according to a department report.

The Mazda truck was abandoned and set on fire after being stolen from the mobile home park. A manager there told deputies that his wallet and tools had been left in the truck. His wallet was recovered but was missing a credit card that had been used at Wal-Mart and Casey’s General stores in Pittsburg. Video obtained at the Wal-Mart store allegedly tied Cole and Mercer to use of the credit card, authorities said.

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