Burglars caught minutes after breaking into HI house

Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Two people were arrested last week after a traffic stop at Stateline Road led to the discovery of stolen computer equipment and other items that were allegedly burglarized from a Holiday Island home just before the traffic stop.

Carroll County Deputy Robert Tollett said in his report that a man and a woman from Cassville, Mo., were charged Thursday afternoon with residential burglary and theft of property after the deputy received permission from both the suspects to look in their vehicle.

He reportedly found a laptop computer, printer, fax machine, tool box and other items.

Tollett stopped the vehicle for running a stop sign at Countyline and Stateline roads, and then became suspicious when the white Chrysler sedan's license plate didn't match with a computer check, and began questioning the suspects.

Tollett said the driver, Erin Eileen Thompson, 21, and passenger, Samuel Floyd Munday, 28, both of the same Cassville address, were later booked on charges of residential burglary, theft of property and traffic-related charges.

As Tollett was running computer checks and talking to the suspects, he said they appeared nervous and were unable to explain why the license plate didn't match. Thompson had no driver's license with her.

Tollett said he noticed a label on a laptop computer bag that had the name of a Holiday Island man on it.

Tollett called reserve deputy Jack Deaton, asking him to check the address of the apparent owner of the computer to see if anything was amiss at the man's address.

According to the report, Deaton found forced entry at the Venus Avenue address on Holiday Island.

Sheriff Chuck Medford said Tollett, recently hired on permanently after serving several years as a reserve, made "all the right moves" by keeping the suspects under control, noticing that the items indicated a possible theft, and calling Deaton, who apparently knew the victim and his address.

When Deaton went to meet with Tollett, the report said both suspects were read their rights and Munday confirmed he had given oral consent to search the vehicle and then signed a written consent form.

Munday allegedly admitted to the two deputies that he had burglarized the home and taken all the items found in the vehicle.

Thompson said she had "nothing to say" and was taken to jail along with Munday on burglary and theft of property charges, according to the report.

Sheriff Medford praised the young deputy for turning a routine traffic stop into breaking a significant burglary case, apparently within minutes of the thefts.

"It was good, solid police work, and I commend the young deputy for being alert and recognizing a situation that was more than it appeared to be," Medford said.

"The fact that he called Jack Deaton, who knows the people of the island, made a difference. It's a prime example of having the manpower to investigate a situation rather than being short-handed and running from call to call."

Upon the arrival of investigators Alan Hoos and Ralph Gordon, Munday removed all the items that he said he had taken from the house, the report said. Hoos began taking photos and documenting the items.

Thompson was also charged with disregarding a stop sign, no seat belt, no proof of insurance, and fictitious vehicle tags.

Both suspects were still in custody Monday at Carroll County Jail. Thompson's bail was set at $4,000 and Munday's bail was set at $15,000.

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