UNEEDA – Members of a Uneeda neighborhood watch group worked together to catch a suspect who had broken into a vehicle parked at the Uneeda Post Office.
David Stone is a member of the newly formed Griffith’s Branch Community Watch Group in Uneeda and said last week he noticed a vehicle in the community he didn’t recognize.
“I stopped the vehicle and asked the guy where he was going,” Stone said. “He told me someone had broken into his vehicle and stole his GPS unit and a fishing rod.”
Stone called 911 and Boone County Deputy J.T. Pauley responded to the call.
“We heard a splash in the river and the deputy drove across to the other side,” Stone said. “We found a back pack and some stolen merchandise, but didn’t find any suspects.”
Stone has a concealed weapons permit and was carrying his pistol with him when he heard a noise near his mother’s back porch.
“I pull out my pistol and racked one into the chamber and I heard a young man say, ‘Don’t shoot, I am here,’” Stone said. “He said he was visiting his dad. I responded by telling him that this is my mother’s home and you’re not my brother.”
Stone’s mother is former Boone County Magistrate Sharon Stone Riggleman.
Deputy Pauley arrested Austin Wade Holstein and charged him with petit larceny and conspiracy. He was arraigned and his bond was set at $5,000.
Holstein, 18, of Madison, allegedly conspired with Colt Duncan to break into the vehicle and steal a GPS unit and a fishing rod, which he had in his possession at the time of his arrest.
Although Duncan eluded capture, Holstein told the deputy his identity and that he was involved with him in committing the alleged crimes, according to the criminal complaint filed in Boone County Magistrate Court.
There was also an eye witness to the crimes, according to the complaint.
Police and prosecutors praised the neighborhood watch groups in the county, but also warned them.
“They are doing a really good job out there,” said Boone County Prosecuting Attorney Keith Randolph. “However, police have warned residents against confronting suspects directly because of possible physical dangers. It is always best to call 911 and wait for law enforcement.”
Stone said he just wanted to catch the suspect.
“I don’t want someone thinking they can come into our neighborhood and commit crimes and get away with it,” Stone said. “I think it was awesome that we were just there for each other with this new neighborhood watch group.”
Stone said this incident was another example of how neighbors can work together to keep their community safe.
“We all want to come together to make our communities safer places and we understand that law enforcement can’t be everywhere in the county all the time,” he said. “This is something we have to do on our own sometimes.”
Stone said the experience strengthened the bond between the neighbors.
“We’re not going away,” he said.
Stone said anyone interested in joining the new neighborhood watch group in Uneeda is urged to attend the next community meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013, at 7 p.m. He said information about the meeting will be posted at the Griffith’s Branch Church of Christ.