As if construction wasn’t enough of a headache, Elsberry R-II School District would also have to deal with theft over summer break, when two teenage boys decided to run off with approximately $1625.67 of copper.
At 5:47 a.m. on July 11, Elsberry Police Officer Lieutenant Brian Jeffries was on patrol when he noticed smoke coming from the South Seventh Street, near the levee. When he arrived on scene, Jefferies stated he saw the smoke coming from a pile of burned up extension cords. According to his report, the pile had a tire lying on top of them and copper foam insulation in the same vicinity.
“I notified the Elsberry Fire Department,” stated Jefferies. “I then left the area and did a quick area canvas.”
The Elsberry Fire Department arrived at approximately 6 a.m., along with Jefferies. Further investigation would locate some copper piping in the woods near the east side of South Seventh Street. According to Jefferies, the copper was bent and twisted into balls. Knowing the District was doing repairs and that there were possibly large amounts of copper on site, he headed to the school, where he met with Bryson Jarman with Peter’s Heating and Air Conditioning.
After inspecting the crews work room, Jarman advised Jefferies that the copper they had stock piled was missing, along with three extension cords. Perkins Electrical also claimed two 50-foot extension cords were missing. Jefferies then made contact with Elsberry R-II Superintendent Tim Reller, Ed.D. At this time, both Jefferies and Dr. Reller took a look at surveillance, which showed two males entering the hallways at approximately 2:35 a.m. Dr. Reller also stated in the report that he saw the two suspects carrying out extension cords and copper piping.
Jefferies stated he recognized one of the suspects, who he identified as Kyle T. Blair, 17, of Elsberry. At 10:19 a.m., Jefferies arrested Blair and transported him to the Elsberry Police Department, where he was read his Miranda Rights. Blair admitted to his involvement in the burglary and stated that Caytron Kerr, 18, was also involved.
According to the probable clause statements, Blair claimed it was Kerr’s idea and Kerr claims it was Blair’s. However, both admitted to their involvement as a quick way to make some money. While talking to Kerr, he stated it was his girlfriend, Alyssa Mcniff, 19, who drove a vehicle, which belonged to his father, to transport the stolen items.
Jefferies made contact with Mcniff, who then met him at the Elsberry Police Department. She was also read her Miranda rights. Mcniff said at approximately 11 p.m. she was at the gas station when she saw Blair. When she asked him what was going on for the night, she explained Blair would not answer. However, he did ask for a ride to his friend’s house. Approximately one hour later, Mcniff said Blair showed up to the house, where he and Kerr then left together. According to her, they did not state where they were going.
Then at approximately 4 a.m. both Kerr and Blair came back and asked her to take them to the store. She went on to state that upon leaving the store they asked her to take them to the apartments located next to the school. According to Jefferies report, Mcniff stated they had a pile of black round “things” and threw them into the back of her car. She was then asked to drive to South Seventh Street into the woods where Blair and Kerr set the items.
A second search would later discover more copper wire, which was returned to Peter’s Heating and Air Conditioning.
Blair and Kerr were both charged with Burglary – Second Degree and Theft/Stealing (Value of property or services is $500 or more but less than $25,000) a Class C Felony. Mcniff was charged with Theft/Stealing (Value of property or services is $500 or more but less than $25,000) a Class C Felony, for her involvement.