A serial burglar in the Tecumseh area may be one step closer to being caught, after surveillance cameras captured the latest attack on an old farm store along US-177.
It is unclear if the man in the video is the same thief who targeted the store in the past, but this time cameras were watching as he spent minutes trying to get inside before finally slipping through a window. “He kneed the door, I don’t know, probably half a dozen times,” describes neighbor Trace Brown, who has known the elderly woman who owns the property most of his life.
Early Tuesday morning, a brand new security system was up-and-running as the man approached the building and tried to get in. On the video, he goes back and forth looking at different options. He also looked at the camera multiple times as he worked on breaking through the window.
“He got the bars pried apart and that’s how he went in,” says Brown, “so he desperately wanted in there for some reason.”
The man cut himself on the window, leaving behind blood as evidence.
Brown says he does not understand why someone keeps burglarizing the store. He says when the owner’s husband died, she closed the store and sold off all the expensive items. “There’s nothing left here,” says Brown. “Everything has been sold and gone. There’s nothing of any value here.”
Thieves continue to break in, however, at least three times just this year. They have stolen various leftover tools and parts, but the man in the video left the building with nothing visible in his hands.
Brown believes the thieves use ATVs to approach through the field behind the shop, and he thinks they are local. He says their actions are tormenting the owner. “Even though the business is gone, it’s heartbreaking to see what she goes through and hear it in her voice,” says Brown. “She’s scared.”
Brown decided to take the video to Facebook for answers. The post has been shared more than 80,000 times so far, and Brown says he has received more than 100 tips about who it might be, all of which he turned over to Pottawatomie County investigators.
The sheriff says this video may be the key to unlocking a number of other cases. Brown says, “We know what he looks like. We have his blood DNA. We have fingerprints. It’s just a matter of time.”
Sheriff Mike Booth says his team has developed a suspect, but are not releasing his name until they make an arrest.