Break in spree results in 31 felony charges

A rash of burglaries in Hillsboro from mid-October until early December generated 29 counts of felony burglary, two counts of felony theft and 13 counts of misdemeanor theft.

Admittedly, Hillsboro Police Chief Dan Kinning said this investigation has taken time, but what started out as 20 some burglary cases in December has grown into 31 new cases with a few more twists and turns evolving in the investigation.

?Two of those discoveries were motor vehicle thefts,? said Hillsboro Police Chief Dan Kinning. ?This is in addition to the burglary, theft, criminal damage to property, escape from custody and battery on a law enforcement officer charges already filed.?

Marion County Attorney Susan Robson will now have the task of making formal charges on the two juveniles and 19-year-old Christo?pher Lieder of Hillsboro, all allegedly involved in the crimes.

Only one of the juveniles is being charged with all 29 burglaries, Kinning said. The other two are involved in a 50/50 split.

The two vehicle thefts were allegedly committed by the same juvenile, also accused of being the ringleader in the burglaries.

?The first car stolen, a 1989 Honda, happened about a month prior to the burglaries,? Kinning said.

The second car stolen, an older model S-10 pickup, owned by Mike Sechler of Hillsboro, was used to escape from police after the Dec. 8 failed attempt to burglarize Hillsboro Body Shop.

?The juvenile ran out of gas in Goessel,? he said, ?and stole another vehicle recovered in Newton.?

This same juvenile, alleged to have stolen the two vehicles, Kinning said, also pushed a police officer?s chest while escaping out the door at Hillsboro Body Shop.

?All the burglaries are a felony,? Kinning said, ?and the one young man is also being charged with two counts of felony theft.?

Lieder and the juvenile facing the most charges, both waived their preliminary hearing Feb. 4 for their roles in the Hillsboro Body Shop attempted burglary.

?About the first half of these burglaries were done by one of the juveniles,? Kinning said.

Lieder is alleged to have picked up where the other alleged burglar left off.

According to police, Lieder was not involved in the first several burglaries, which included the LaCabana Restaurant, where about $3,800 in cash was stolen.

The two juveniles are alleged to have started burglarizing the downtown area, but one of them left town, Kinning said.

?We have a bench warrant on this individual,? he said.

Lieder was allegedly recruited by the other juvenile as a new partner in the burglaries until they both were caught attempting to break into Hillsboro Body Shop.

The juvenile allegedly responsible for masterminding the spree remains at Forbes, a detention center in Topeka.

Putting it all together

Sifting through stacks of paperwork and evidence related to the burglaries kept Kinning and officers busy for almost three months.

As his office continued gathering proof, more information was revealed to police. The Hillsboro United Methodist Church, 905 East D St., also reported a projector had been stolen from the building.

?This theft could also be connected with the other burglaries and car thefts,? Kinning said earlier this month. ?They (suspects) weren?t going to stop until they were caught.?

First burglaries

The first burglary happened Oct. 17, at La Cabana Restaur?ant, 117 S. Main. The next two break-ins were at Molly?s On Main at 104 S. Main and Brenda?s Bloomers and Gifts at 111 W. Grand, with a third attempted crime at Dale?s Supermarket, 108 W. Grand. All occurred Wednesday, Oct. 22.

The burglaries at the restaurant and Molly?s were through a back door, but in the case of Brenda?s shop, entry was through a window.

At Dale?s Supermarket, more than $1,000 damage was done to the skylight and intruders were unable to gain access after attempting to remove a vent in the skylight.

Second rash

While the first four break-ins involved businesses on the west side of Main Street, the next three of four burglaries occurred on the east side with the fourth on Ash Street.

Jost Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning at 128 N. Main, State Farm Insurance at 114 N. Main and Bremyer & Wise Attorneys at Law at 120 N. Main were broken into sometime between Saturday night and Sunday, Nov. 15-16, Kinning said.

The fourth incident at The Lumberyard Inc. happened sometime after 3 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 16. More than $100 in damage was reported and about $135 in cash stolen. In two other burglaries, no money or merchandise was stolen, but buildings were damaged.

Adding to the eight downtown businesses, seven more stores were hit in the latter part of November: Hillsboro True Value, 125 N. Main; The Lumber?yard Inc. for a second time; Trail Lane Bowling, 121 S. Main; and Jess? Tresses, which adjoins the bowling alley in Suite A; Clay?works Gallery, 417 N. Main; Old Towne Restaurant, 126 N. Main; and A Cut Above, 129 N. Main.

Beyond downtown

Days before Thanksgiving, Rod?s Tire & Service Inc., which is in the retail industrial park, reported that just before midnight damage was done to a window after someone had thrown a rock. The following day, police were called at 7 a.m. to McMinn?s Bicycle Shop in the 200 block of South Cedar.

?Someone had gained entry and taken $100 in cash,? he said.

In less than a week after burglars entered four more businesses, police nabbed Lieder and one of the juveniles.

Six days before catching the two people in the act, Hillsboro Engine Service, 404 Floral Dr.; McMinn Bicycle Service, 204 S. Cedar; Concrete Products Inc., 209 N. Cedar; and Car Quest, 607 N. Ash, were struck.

Although no money or products were reported stolen, the buildings were damaged.

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