El Dorado Springs Police Chief Jarrod Schiereck reported this week that on Aug. 2, 2017, officers responded to 1501 South First Street, El Dorado Springs Special Road District, concerning a reported larceny of equipment. The investigation revealed the theft of a yellow Caterpillar 120H, road grader value $80,000 to $100,000 and damages to road surfaces. The investigation resulted in the arrest of Tyler M. Wilkins, 26, of El Dorado Springs, for an active Municipal warrant, for failure to appear per court order, with a cash or surety bond of $379.00, and the probable cause of tampering in the first degree and property damage. Officers complete a probable cause statement for these charges. Officers received a Cedar County warrant charging Wilkins with first degree tampering with a motor vehicle and first degree property damage, with a $5,000 cash only bond. He was transferred to the Cedar County jail pending bond and court appearances.

The probable cause statement says:

I, Timothy Findley, knowing that false statements on this form are punishable by law, state that the facts contained herein are true.

1. I have probable cause to believe that on 08/02/2017, at 1501 South First Street, Tyler M. Wilkins, DOB: 07/12/1991, committed one or more of the criminal offenses.

Tampering in the first degree, RSMo 569.080, Class D felony. property damage, RSMo B misdemeanor.

2. The facts supporting this belief are as follows:

On August 2, 2017, at approximately 0713 hours, I was dispatched to the El Dorado Springs Special Road District at 1501 South First in reference to the theft of a motor vehicle. Dispatch stated that the complainant stated that road grader had been stolen overnight.

I arrived, and met with the complainant, Carl Swager. Mr. Swager stated that a 120H Caterpillar Road Grader had been stolen overnight. Mr. Swager stated that the keys were not left in it, and he had turned a “kill switch” on the motor as well. Mr. Swager stated that some other employees had followed the tracking device put on the vehicle, and were following it to BB Hwy. I advised dispatch to contact Cedar and Vernon County. A short time later, I was advised that the grader had been located near U.S. Hwy. 54 and HH Hwy., in Vernon County. I later spoke with Deputy Johnson of the Cedar County Sheriff’s Office, who advised that it appeared that the suspect had put the blade down on BB Hwy., damaging the pavement, as well as some mailboxes and some fence along the area.

I later spoke with Officer Moeller, who advised that he had spoken with Curtis Benenhaley, who had told him that he had been told by Jon Mart that Mr. Wilkins and Larry Messick had taken the grader.

I met with Mr. Mart. Mr. Mart stated that Mr. Wilkins, who he knew as “Ty” was always talking about taking a road grader, and stated that he had a master key, and could take any Caterpillar. Mr. Mart stated that the previous night, he had driven past the Special Road District, and Mr. Wilkins stated that he could start the road grader, and he did. Mr. Mart stated that he sat down in the driver’s seat, and he (Mr. Mart) finally talked him out of the grader, and then took him to Casey’s, where he met with Mr. Messick. Mr. Mart stated that he left Mr. Mart and Mr. Wilkins at that point.

I met with Mr. Messick. Mr. Messick stated that he had heard Mr. Wilkins talking about how he started a Caterpillar, and did not believe him. Mr. Messick stated that he was later driving down First Street, and observed Mr. Wilkins pull the Caterpillar out quickly. Mr. Wilkins stated that he followed Mr. Wilkins, eventually pulling in front of him, and Mr. Wilkins pulled to a stop in Vernon County.

Tyler Wilkins committed the crime of tampering with a motor vehicle, to wit, he knowingly unlawfully operated a motor propelled vehicle, to wit, a caterpillar 120H road grader, without the consent of the owner of that vehicle.

Tyler Wilkins committed the crime of property damage, to wit, he knowingly damaged the property of another, but using the road grader and cutting large gashes in the road, as well as hitting a fence and mailboxes.

Timothy Findley 8/2./2017

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