By Jeff Lehr
COLUMBUS, Kan. —
Sheriff’s deputies nabbed a suspect in a burglary Monday in Cherokee County. He had given law enforcement in Missouri the slip for several weeks.
Cole Michael Chew, 29, of Neosho, Mo., was captured about 8 p.m. after getting a stolen pickup truck and trailer stuck in a field northeast of Columbus while trying to elude deputies.
Authorities in Kansas allege that Chew was driving a Chevrolet pickup truck reported stolen in Joplin, Mo., that was towing a trailer that he had swiped in Columbus. He allegedly was in possession of other suspected stolen property, including items taken in a burglary earlier in the day at a residence near Columbus.
Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves said deputies were called to the address where the suspect was caught when he reportedly approached the property owner and asked for some transmission fluid.
At the time, deputies were working the burglary that had taken place earlier in the day at a residence northwest of Columbus, and police were investigating the theft of a trailer inside the city limits. The sheriff said he thinks the sound of sirens in the area may have spooked the suspect because the vehicle he was driving struck a parked vehicle belonging to the property owner as he suddenly took off in the stolen truck.
He then drove into a nearby field and became stuck.
“It was muddy out, and he didn’t get too far,” Groves said.
A deputy responding to the call chased Chew down on foot and made the arrest. The sheriff said Chew at first tried to conceal who he was, but deputies eventually coaxed an acknowledgment of his true identity from him.
The suspect was being held Tuesday at the Cherokee County Jail on a $48,000 bond. He is charged in Kansas with two counts of criminal damage to property, and single counts of burglary, possession of stolen property, felony obstruction and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Authorities in Missouri have been seeking Chew since linking him to a series of burglaries and other crimes in March. In Vernon County, he faces two counts of burglary, and single counts of robbery, theft, theft of a firearm, tampering with a motor vehicle and knowingly burning or exploding.
“I guess we’ll have to wait our turn now that Kansas has him,” Vernon County Sheriff Jason Mosher said. “But we’ll keep a bed open for him.”
Chew also could be facing a charge in Joplin related to the theft of the truck from a resident on North Oak Avenue.
COLE MICHAEL CHEW was the focus of a manhunt March 8 in some woods near Milo in Vernon County after he allegedly broke into a home, assaulted a 13-year-old boy, stole a truck and set a grass fire.