Eileen and Skip Sieger are being more watchful after thieves broke into a shed less than 60 feet from their house in rural Marion last week.
They were enjoying an evening at home when the break-in happened sometime after 8:30 p.m. Eileen said they never heard anything.
“We have lived in this house since 1978 and have never had anything close to this happen,” Eileen said.
The next morning Skip discovered the truck, parked unlocked in the shed, had been ransacked sometime during the night.
“When Skip went into our large metal shed, which sits directly west of our house, he noticed the tool box lid was left open on the truck bed,” Eileen said. “Then he opened the truck door and saw that someone had opened the console lid and tipped it back and the contents were scattered all around the truck.”
The thieves mostly took small easy to carry hand items like hand tools and sockets.
In order to break into the shed the thieves had to walk right past the house, right under a security light.
“They would have had to have gone into the shed by the small storm door on the east side facing the house,” she said.
The break-in at the Siegers’ follows the same pattern as several break-ins in Chase County. They live less than a mile from the county line. Sheriff Robert Craft believes the two could be connected.
“It’s likely,” he said. “There has been several like incidents in Chase County in recent weeks, but we can’t say for sure it’s the same people.”
Chase County Sheriff Richard Dorneker said six similar incidents are being investigated, but this is the first incident of this kind in Marion County.
“It seems random suspects take mostly food or other small items,” Dorneker said. “Sometimes they break into locked sheds by cutting locks, sometimes they just walk right into an open unsecured shed.”
Dorneker said he has three officers working on the case and they have a few tips they’re investigating.
He is telling residents to lock and secure their outbuildings and also add motion lights or other night lighting to buildings.
Craft has been in contact with Chase County Sheriff’s Department to find the perpetrators.
The whole incident left the Siegers feeling violated and Craft confused. The thieves passed up on several more valuable items like a new lawn trimmer, instead taking less valuable items often located in a short distance away. Luckily, there was no money left in the truck.
“What they took didn’t make a lot of sense,” Craft said.
This is not a trend around the county he said.
“Lately we’ve seen a slight increase in steel and scrap iron thefts,” he said. “People have been gathering up scrap from abandoned farms to sell for cash, but this is the first incident like this in the county.
Just in case, he is asking rural residents to be aware and observant.
Since the incident, Sieger has been locking up outbuildings, vehicles, and their house and plans to enact more safety precautions.
“Everyone I have told has decided to be more careful, which is good,” Eileen said.