An attempted vehicle theft was thwarted near Burrton this morning when the truck owner fired shots with a shotgun at the truck and thief. When the dust settled, several vehicles from multiple locations were recovered by law enforcement.
At approximately 5:54 a.m., Harvey County Deputies were dispatched to 18305 W. US Highway 50, the location of Southwest Wheels, a residence and home-based business selling used trucks and motorcycles. The owner called 9-1-1 to report that one of his trucks was being stolen.
According to the Harvey County Sheriff's Department, the victim went outside to check on his other property and discovered a second suspect. This suspect was located inside a shed on the property and was in the process of stealing a second vehicle. The victim confronted the suspect and the suspect attempted to run over him in the stolen vehicle. The victim, armed with a shotgun, fired one round at the pickup as it was coming at him. The suspect crashed the vehicle into a tree and began to exit the vehicle when a second round was fired by the victim. The victim believed he had struck the suspect. The suspect then fled, on foot, in a northeast direction from the property. Investigators discovered a 2001 Dodge Ram 4x4 pickup had been stolen from the victim. A motorcycle had also been taken from the property, but was recovered in the south ditch east of the victim's business on Highway 50. A second white pickup belonging to the victim was loaded with various tools and equipment belonging to the victim, but never made it out past the victim's property.
Investigators discovered a white Chevrolet pickup on the railroad right of way, approximately ½ mile southwest of the scene. This pickup was reported stolen from Butler County. At around 8 a.m. a resident, located in the 17000 block of SW 24th, about a mile south of the Highway 50 crime, reported their maroon 2010 mini van had just been stolen. This mini van was recovered, abandoned, a short time later in Sedgwick County off of North 215 St. West and West 109th Street. The vehicle had been driven into the creek area.
Officers from the Harvey County Sheriff's Office, Kansas Highway Patrol, Halstead Police Department, Newton Police Department, Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office and Wichita Police Department began a search of the area. Tracking dogs were used, the Highway Patrol fixed wing was deployed and thermal imaging cameras were brought into the area. At about 10:15 a.m., the suspect was located by K-9 trackers. The suspect was about 5 miles from where the stolen mini van was recovered hiding in weeds by the creek bed. The suspect was placed into custody and transported to St. Francis hospital for treatment from the shot-gun pellets he encountered at the 18305 W. Highway 50 address.
Investigators from the Harvey County Sheriff's Office are continuing to investigate this case