Suspect arrested in connection with rash of vehicle break-ins, thefts at local car lots PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marty Randall   
Tuesday, 17 March 2015 00:00

A Scottsburg resident has been arrested and charged in a series of thefts and break-ins of vehicles at two local car lots that have been occurring since last November.

Charles R. Kesler, 40, is being held at the Scott County Security Center in lieu of his $50,000/10% cash bond set on his case by Judge Marsha Owens Howser of Scott Superior Court.

Kesler has been charged with six counts of misdemeanor theft and two misdemeanor counts of criminal mischief.

Scottsburg officers began getting reports of break-ins on local car lots on November 6, 2014. Among items stolen were a car radio, an amplifier and speakers, a black tailgate, wheel covers, ammunition and speaker wiring. In each case, surveillance videos showed that the suspect was a man who drove away in a silver Pontiac Grand Prix. In several cases of theft, the targeted vehicle’s door lock was “punched out” by the man, the videos showed.

Patrolman Travis Rutherford stopped a Pontiac Grand Prix resembling the car the thief had used. A woman driving the car said she knew nothing about it being used in recent thefts. Tools and jacks were found in the car, which had no registration or paperwork, as were a car stereo and a rewards card in Kesler’s name.

During the course of the investigation, the woman driving the car denied knowing Kesler or that he was living with her. Break-ins and thefts continued through November and in February.

On March 9, Ptl. Rutherford again found the suspect vehicle, this time being driven by Kesler. He was wearing a distinctive sweatshirt, one that the thief had been wearing in one of the security videos.

When interviewed by Sgt. Steve Herald, Kesler allegedly admitted “popping the lock” on one vehicle but denied taking anything. He also reportedly admitted having stolen the tailgate, which he said he didn’t have any longer.

When officers went to the apartment of the woman, they found several auto parts and accessories, including a black tailgate. She finally admitted Kesler was living with her and also said that he sometimes took her car without permission.

Kesler had his initial court hearing on Friday, March 13. Judge Howser set a trial date of June 9 in the case and appointed a public defender.

The Scott County Prosecutor’s Office also filed a Notice of Intent to seek an enhanced penalty against Kesler based on a previous unrelated conviction for theft/receiving stolen property that occurred in Scott Superior Court in March, 2013.

Scottsburg Detective/Lt. Mike Nichols said investigation of the case is on-going.