Cape man found not guilty of burglary

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

A jury of six men and six women took about 45 minutes to decide Tuesday that Benjamin Bird Sr., 50, of Cape Girardeau was not guilty of burglarizing the home of Benjamin E. Wodicker earlier this year.

Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle said the case was circumstantial, but he believed the circumstances were strong enough to bring Bird to court on a Class C felony.

According to the court petition, Bird is accused of breaking into Wodicker's home in the early hours of Jan. 11. Wodicker had been away for about 10 hours, Swingle said, and called police when he returned home around 1:10 a.m. to find his front door was damaged.

The police officer who responded apparently saw Bird walking within a block of Wodicker's home carrying some items. The officer circled the block, and when he came up on Bird again, he was empty-handed. Some tools which Wodicker identified as his were found hidden nearby, and Bird claimed that two men named Bob and Frank had given the items to him, which the jury apparently believed.

Bird is still in custody, Swingle said. He is awaiting an April 5 court appearance in Division I on two other cases, stealing and probation violation for a bad check charge.

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