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Audrain County Sheriff’s Office recovers stolen property, makes 3 arrests

Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2024 at 10:10 pm

Two-month long investigation yields recovery of 6 stolen trailers from 4 counties

Audrain County Sheriff Matt Oller said that during early to mid-January of 2024, “one of our investigators assigned to the East Central Drug Task Force obtained information regarding the whereabouts of a stolen utility trailer. The information was obtained during an unrelated narcotic investigation. Suspects were identified during the encounter.”

The TFO met with the sheriff’s office’s investigations unit, and they began investigating the information. On Jan. 26, 2024, information obtained led members to an address along Pike Road 442 near Middletown, Oller reported, where they located a 2023 Maxwell enclosed cargo trailer, valued at $15,000, that had been reported stolen from Maxwell Trailers in Boone County. The trailer was recovered and returned to the Boone County Sheriff’s Office.

On Jan. 31, 2024, additional investigation led them to an address along Missouri Route BB in Audrain County, where they recovered a Lamar Dump trailer valued at $10,000. The trailer had been stolen from a residence in Laddonia, Mo.

More information gained during that recovery led investigators to an address along Missouri Route M in rural Pike County, Mo. While there, they recovered a Featherlite Aluminum car hauler valued at $10,000. The trailer had been reported stolen the previous February from Chariton County, Mo.

On Jan. 31, 2024, named suspect information, along with a “be on the lookout” was distributed to Audrain Sheriff’s Office patrol staff and members of the Missouri State Highway Patrol Zone. Later in the day, Oller reported, a Sheriff’s Office patrol supervisor located one of the named suspects driving near Farber in Audrain County.

The patrol supervisor coordinated with Oller and K9 Andi to be present for a vehicle stop. The vehicle was stopped by the patrol supervisor for an observed traffic violation, and during his contact, Oller deployed K9 Andi for a free air sniff of the vehicle. K9 Andi alerted to the presence of narcotics in the vehicle, and the vehicle was searched. The search yielded Methamphetamine. The driver, Dawson G. Miller, 25, of Vandalia, was arrested for the drug offense.

Later questioning of Miller regarding his involvement in the thefts of the two recovered trailers yielded further information about more stolen trailers.

On Feb. 1, 2024, law enforcement members followed up and went to an address along Pike Road 48 near Curryville and while there, recovered a 2022 Homesteader cargo trailer that had been stolen from within the City of Mexico in Audrain County.

On Feb. 1, 2024, members of the Missouri State Highway Patrol located a second named suspect as a result of the earlier “be on the lookout.” The trooper stopped the vehicle for an observed traffic violation, and during the stop, developed reasonable suspicion to believe the driver was involved in illegal narcotic activity.

The trooper requested K9 assistance, and Oller and K9 Andi were nearby. K9 Andi was deployed for a free air sniff around the vehicle, and she alerted to presence of illegal narcotics. A search of the vehicle yielded Methamphetamine and a firearm. The driver, Douglas P. Grote, 47, of Curryville, was arrested for the offenses. A later interview of Grote led to more usable information.

Later, on Feb. 1, 2024, Audrain County Undersheriff James Shrader observed the third of the named suspects driving a vehicle in Laddonia. Shrader knew the driver had a revoked driver’s license and stopped the car for the observed violation. The driver was arrested, and his vehicle was searched with consent, and Methamphetamine was located.

The driver, Justin L. Schaedel, 41, of Laddonia, was transported to the Audrain County Jail. A later interview of Schaedel led to more usable information.

Final stages of the investigation led investigators to an address along US 54 near Curryville, where they arranged for the recovery of the final two trailers that they had information about. On Feb. 29, 2024, investigators recovered a 2013 Maxwell cargo trailer, valued at $8,000 and a 2023 Load Trail dump trailer, valued at $9,000, both of which were earli Montgomery City, Mo.

All investigative reports have been forwarded to the agencies where these crimes occurred for filing of criminal charges in those counties for the known thefts.

Oller said, “I can’t thank my staff enough for their hard work and dedication to working with other agencies to bring stolen property back to rightful owners. This investigation was long and intensive and is further proof that property crimes are many times directly tied to illegal drugs and illegal drug activity.

Undersheriff Shrader, though a command staff member, was directly involved in this investigation from start to finish and worked tirelessly to help our staff be able to keep up with their other cases. Through good leadership, my office remains committed to working with our community partners and other law enforcement agencies to hold criminals accountable.”