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Police: Man caught stealing metal for second time in three weeks
POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- Fewer than three weeks after being caught reportedly stealing radiators from a local business, a Poplar Bluff man again was caught Thursday allegedly stealing scrap metal from a rural home.
Keith Robert Gillmer, 30, of the 2100 block of North Westwood Boulevard, was arrested at about 2:30 p.m. at The Bluff Inn, formerly the Guesthouse Inn, on suspicion of stealing and on a warrant for stealing by Butler County deputies.
Gillmer was arrested in connection with a theft at a County Road 323 residence after the owner, Brien Fugate, reported his stepson was following a truck, later found to be driven by Gillmer, which had been seen leaving their property with suspected stolen items.
At about 1 p.m., Fugate reported to Cpl. Brian Lowe his stepson was following the truck on Highway 142.
Lowe, according to his report, subsequently learned the suspect vehicle was a white Ford pickup and its registration checked to Gillmer and another person.
When Lowe turned onto County Road 314, he said, he was flagged down by Jeff Fincher and Maurissa Morelan.
"They both stated that they had attempted to block the subject in, but that he had drove around them," said Lowe. "They also told me that one of the items they had seen in the back of the truck was a large, rusty tractor wheel."
Lowe said when Gillmer was arrested during the early morning hours of June 20 for allegedly stealing radiators from Bluff Transmission, he had provided officers with an address at the motel.
Lowe said he and deputy Matt McGraw responded there, where they found a truck matching the description provided by the reporting parties.
Gillmer was contacted and told of his rights.
"While speaking with Gillmer, I observed the large, rusty wheel that Morelan and Fincher had told me about laying in the bed of his truck," Lowe said.
When questioned about the theft, Lowe said, Gillmer denied any involvement and reported he had been applying for jobs.
Lowe described Gillmer as being sweaty, with rust marks smeared across both of his legs.
Although Gillmer denied living at the motel, an employee told Lowe he had been staying there for about a month.
When Lowe went to Gillmer's room and looked through the curtain, he said, he saw some scrap metal laying in the floor.
Lowe said he again questioned Gillmer, who, when confronted with the information indicating he lived at the motel and what Lowe had seen in the room, "dropped his head and admitted to me that he had stole the stuff from a residence on County Road 323."
"I asked Gillmer if the rest of the items were in his room and he stated: 'Yeah, they are,'" said Lowe, who was given permission to search Gillmer's room.
Once inside Gillmer's room, Lowe said, he saw the scrap metal, as well as a suspected methamphetamine pipe laying in plain view on the counter.
"I asked Gillmer if there were any more narcotics in the room, at which time, he showed me four marijuana pipes and three glass meth pipes," Lowe said.
Fugate, Lowe said, came to the motel, where he identified the property as being his.
The property was released to Fugate, while the suspected drug paraphernalia was seized so it can be sent to the crime lab for analysis, Lowe said.
Fincher and Morelan, Lowe said, provided written statements in which they reported seeing the pickup pull off their property as they were headed into town.
"Fincher stated that they attempted to stop the vehicle, but … (Gillmer) just waved and kept driving," Lowe said. "Fincher stated they followed the truck to County Road 314, at which time, they lost him. Moreland's written statement coincides …"
Gillmer, who was booked at the Butler County Justice Center, faces a stealing charge related to Bluff Transmission incident, as well as another stealing charge related to a May 16 incident investigated by the sheriff's department.
Poplar Bluff, MO