Mountain View Church Burglarized, Suspect Released

Corporal Mike Greenan of the Missouri State Highway Patrol arrested Johnson C. Burks, 34, of Mountain View on July 6 on suspicion of burglary activity. According to the probable cause statement filed by the same officer on August 27, Burks was released “without being made to post a bond.”
The burglary took place at Gravel Ridge Community Church, and the victims contacted Cpl. Greenan directly and requested that he respond personally. The pastor of the church noticed the burglary on July 4. Music and electronic equipment worth more than $25,000 was missing from the church building, the victims reported. The victims also reported that a sixteen-foot utility trailer was stolen from a nearby residence on June 28. Cpl. Greenan was shown a video clip that showed the stolen utility trailer hauling a large shop fan that belonged to the church. Hitched to the stolen trailer was a red GMC Sonoma pickup truck. 
The video was captured by a privately owned dash cam belonging to a Mountain View resident and showed the stolen property on Route WW in Mountain View. In the footage, a white male driver believed to be Burks was visible. The stolen utility trailer was later discovered abandoned at a vacant house.
On July 6, Cpl. Greenan traveled to Burks’ address of record and could see Burks clearly through a glass front door, sleeping on a couch and surrounded by various electronic items and cables, some of which were in the process of disassembly. 
After unsuccessful attempts to wake Burks, the officer called for assistance from troopers in the area. Master Sergeant Eddie Young and Trooper Sean Goosetree responded. Cpl. Greenan and Sgt. Young stepped inside the residence and raised Burks into a sitting position on the couch. The subject slowly woke up, and all three men stepped outside. 
The stolen shop fan was in plain view near the front of an outbuilding on the property, and pointing to stolen property, Cpl. Greenan placed Burks under arrest for receiving stolen property. 
Burks’ statement was that he bought the stolen items from another man. With the subject’s permission, the officers and the suspect walked through the residence pointing out all the items he claimed to have purchased from someone else, which were known to the officers to have been stolen. Throughout the interaction, Cpl. Greenan described Burks as “somewhat helpful and indifferent about our being at his residence.” However, the sheer amount of stolen items in the house “somewhat overwhelmed” the officers. 
The victims of the burglarized church arrived on the scene and were able to identify and recover “dozens of stolen items,” including a guitar in the front seat of the red pickup. 
The victims made a list of the remaining missing items, including one guitar described as “priceless.” Burks agreed to assist law enforcement in locating the remaining missing items by 11:00 a.m. the next day and was released from the scene without being required to post a bond. 
Law enforcement continued recovery efforts in the meantime, discovering one guitar that had been pawned in the city of Mountain View. Another was returned by a woman, Melissa Ballew, at the municipal airport to Cpl. Greenan directly, which was the guitar described by the victims as being priceless. 
Other music and electronic equipment was obtained from additional suspects who purchased or traded drugs for the stolen property, thanks to the cooperation of the subjects, one of whom, Ronald Lee, was charged with receiving stolen property. 
“The vast majority” of items stolen from the church were located and returned. 
According to the probable cause statement, Burks was free on bond after an arrest for an outstanding warrant when he burglarized the church with the help of a woman, Stephanie Pettitt, 30, of Mountain View. Pettit was charged with two counts of receiving stolen property. 
Burks’ charges of stealing $25,000 or more, second degree burglary, and first degree property damage were filed by the prosecuting attorney on August 27. A warrant for his arrest was issued on September 1. By press time, Burks remains at large.
by Amanda Mendez, publisher


Howell County News

110 W. Main St.,
Willow Springs, MO 65793

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