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  • Last modified 123 days ago (Jan. 26, 2017)

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Third time no charm for alleged serial truck thief

Three times was once too many for a Peabody man who allegedly stole the same truck three times in three days.

The first disappearance of Hillsboro resident Jeremy Wade Schadel’s 1986 GMC S-15 pickup happened between 4 p.m. Jan. 16 and 6:50 a.m. Jan. 17 from 415 S. Main St. He reported it stolen along with an H&R pump action 12-gauge shotgun and ammunition, an 18” Stihl chainsaw, and numerous other tools with a combined estimated value of $2,488.

Officer John Huebert located Schadel’s truck in the 200 block of W. B St., abandoned only a few blocks away from where it had been stolen. However, Huebert noted the truck could not be fully recovered because the only known set of keys to it had disappeared, along with the shotgun, chainsaw, and tools.

Sometime between midnight and 1:25 a.m. Jan. 18, Schadel’s pickup was stolen again, but it didn’t take long for it to turn up later that morning when it appeared in the 200 block of B St. again; however, officer David Funk noted its keys were still missing.

“No one could move the truck,” police chief Dan Kinning said. “We believe the suspect had taken the keys.”

When the pickup vanished once again, this time around 9:15 p.m. Jan. 19, officer Randy Brazil investigated immediately.

Brazil wasn’t the only person searching for Schadel’s disappearing truck that night. Officers had assistance from a technologically savvy Hillsboro resident Gary McCloud.

“Gary is a good guy; he just likes to help,” Kinning said. “He is licensed by the state to trap varmints, and he has trapped coyotes for us before. He put a GPS tracking device on the truck. He probably just volunteered his services.”

The tracking device chirped and woke up a sleeping McCloud, Kinning said. It indicated whoever was in the truck was traveling across county lines into Harvey County.

“It all happened pretty fast,” Kinning said. “After the tracking device woke Gary up, he tried to find Schadel and ended up running into officer Brazil, who also was trying to get a hold of Schadel. Brazil had just checked on the truck, then came back to check it again and saw it was gone.”

And it seems luck wasn’t with the suspect that night.

Kinning said Harvey County officers did not know Hillsboro was looking for the stolen truck, but a Harvey County deputy happened to have seen a tag light out on it when it passed him on US-50.

“I believe there was a brief chase,” Kinning said. “But the guy didn’t get too far.”

He said Harvey County police talked with Peabody and Hillsboro officers to confirm the alleged thief’s identity and the owner of the truck.

Robert Eugene Findley, 30, of Peabody was arrested on several counts of theft, burglary; vehicle with intent to steal a firearm, and theft of a firearm.

Kinning said the chain saw and some tools were recovered along with the pickup at the time of Findley’s arrest, however, Kinning said the shotgun and other items had yet to be recovered.

“It is a bit troubling,” Kinning said. “We believe he was probably taking the items to trade or sell.”

Findley was booked into Harvey County Jail. Kinning said Findley would remain there until he is charged, then would eventually be transferred to Marion County Jail to face charges here.

Referring back to the B St. location at which Findley allegedly abandoned and stole the truck twice Kinning said it didn’t make sense to tow the truck because it was only a few blocks away from Schadle’s home.

“It wasn’t that far from the suspect’s house either, maybe two or three blocks,” Kinning said.

Last modified Jan. 26, 2017

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