Archive for Thursday, August 19, 2004

Former inmate prime suspect in Basehor thefts

August 19, 2004

Police said a prime suspect in the burglary of the Basehor Wastewater Treatment Facility is a former Lansing Correctional Facility inmate who worked for the city as part of a work-release program.

Just weeks ago, thieves broke into the treatment plant and stole tools, a truck, cash and a computer, among other items. The treatment plant did not have an alarm system, a mistake corrected by city officials last week.

Interim Basehor police chief Martin Cigich said arrest warrants are pending for two people in connection with the thefts. Two other suspects found in possession of property stolen from the treatment plant will not be charged in Leavenworth County, but could face charges in Kansas City, Mo., police said.

Cigich said three of the suspects are from Kansas City, Mo., but have ties to Leavenworth County. Charges against the suspects could include felony theft and possession of stolen property.

For seven years, the city used inmates considered low-risk as laborers in the public works department. The program was discontinued last year.

Cigich said he could not comment on many aspects of the alleged thief's tenure in the city because the case is still pending.

Last week, the Basehor City Council authorized city superintendent Gene Myracle to hire a company to install an alarm system at the treatment plant.

The alarm system will not exceed $7,500 in cost and will include color cameras, a video replay system, digital feedback and motion detectors, among other security measures. The city must also pay a $39 monthly monitoring fee.

The city estimated that $100,000 worth of property was stolen from the treatment plant. Some of those items have been recovered, including a 2000 Ford F-250 pickup truck, which was found by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.

Myracle estimated that $20,000 worth of items are still missing. He also reported that the city's insurance carrier has informed them that some of the stolen items will not be covered.

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