5 teens between 13 and 19 arrested
By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
On the short stretch of U.S. Highway 83 between Liberal and Turpin, Okla., lies the small Ponderosa community, a place that might not be thought of as having a crime problem.
In August, though, a few burglaries of homes and vehicles took place there, leaving some in the community taking action to make the Ponderosa a safer place to live.
Beaver County, Okla., Sheriff Reuben Parker Jr. said the alleged crooks were taking anything from guns to iPads to laptop computers and beyond.
Parker said, however, the alleged criminals were quickly caught by some of the very devices they had taken.
“The iPads they had stolen had a GPS on it,” he said. “It was located at a business there in Liberal. He had identified the guy that brought it in. They called him to come back in and give him some more money for it, and the guy showed back up.”
The burglary ring turned out to be five teens from ages 13 to 19.
Parker has worked with Beaver County’s sheriff office for about 19 years, and he said catching criminals such as those responsible for the burglaries in the Ponderosa is simply a matter of time.
“You just wait for them to slip up during your investigation and talking to people,” he said. “Whoever does it, they can’t keep their mouth shut.”
Parker said the recent crimes took place within the last month to month and a half.
“I want to say there were four or five house burglaries and several car burglaries,” he said.
Parker said when the burglaries were reported, a few vehicles were seen in the area.
“People came home and noticed the house had been broken into,” he said. “They called us, and we went out and started taking reports.”
Parker had several tips for anyone wanting to keep their valuables in their possession.
“Number one, lock your house,” he said. “A lot of these were unlocked homes. Unfortunately, even in rural areas, everyone still should lock their houses. Write down serial numbers – serial numbers on guns, serial numbers on laptops, iPads, TVs. Write that stuff down and keep it. Know who your neighbors are. You most generally know what your neighbors drive. You see something there that’s unusual, give us a call. Watch them.”
Parker advised people not to approach crime perpetrators because they likely could be packing a firearm. Instead, he recommended leaving that job to the people paid to do it.
“They’re trained in having to deal with those people, and we don’t want those people in a life or death situation,” he said.
While higher priced things are normally the target of burglars, in the case of the Ponderosa crimes, the cost of the items taken didn’t seem to matter to those who took them.
“They were just going in trying to find whatever they could find,” Parker said. “They were taking anything from whiskey to wine to guns.”
Parker said Ponderosa residents are getting a Neighborhood Watch program together to combat such problems as took place recently.
“County commissioner Frank King had ordered some signs for them,” he said.
Parker said a meeting was scheduled to take place last week to try to get a Neighborhood Watch program started in the area. A post on Aug. 23 on the Facebook page “Talk of Turpin” from Jana Christian said the Ponderosa Neighborhood Watch already has a strong presence.
“We have people out all night,” she said. “We need to help each other.”