A work truck stolen from Williams Drilling Company, Inc., of Belvidere, was recovered abandoned on the side of a road at Centennial, Colo., Wednesday evening, Aug. 26, with the keys removed and locked up tight. The truck was noticed missing from Williams’ parking lot Friday, Aug. 20.
According to Williams Drilling secretary, Michele Modlin, Colorado law enforcement called the company and left a message on the answering machine asking someone to move the vehicle as it had been sitting there too long. Law enforcement retrieved the telephone number for the company from the side of the work truck.
Modlin said Williams Drilling vice-president Shanon Williams called the law enforcement agency back and told them the vehicle had been stolen.
The work vehicle was immediately seized and moved to an official investigation storage lot where fingerprints were obtained, mileage was recorded and damage, if any, was noted. “We haven’t been told if there was any damage,” Modlin said, “but the way the police officer talked, there didn’t seem to be any.”
According to a video tape of the Williams Drilling parking lot which is on the south side of the office building, the suspect, a male, entered the gated yard from the northwest and got into the truck which was parked by the front office door. He then drove to the locked gate and using the truck, slowly pushed on the gate until the lock popped swinging the gate open. Before leaving the scene, he jumped out of the pickup and closed the gate behind him.
The Williams Drilling vehicle may be linked to a Seward County home invasion crime that was brought to Thayer County when the suspect in the case abandoned a stolen 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee on the side of a gravel road west of U.S. 81 at the entrance to Bruning. The jeep, found Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 18, was damaged.
Investigators suspect the car thief may have taken another vehicle from the area after abandoning the jeep, such as the Williams Drilling truck, but have no proof.
Thayer County Sheriff David Lee said Williams Drilling reported the missing pickup Friday night, Aug. 20, at 7 p.m. The vehicle had been missing from the parking lot of the business since Friday morning, but administrators assumed a worker was using it. When it was not returned Friday evening, the company reported it missing. Sheriff Lee said he did not know if the Seward County incident and work truck theft were connected.
Modlin said an insurance company is inspecting the vehicle which should be returned to Williams Drilling when investigators are finished with it.
Centennial, Colo., a suburb of Denver, is approximately 450 miles from Belvidere.