CRESWELL – Dripping with absurdities, a poorly executed crime last week at a Creswell business began as a casual transgression – free and easy, at least that was the head movie.
On Dec. 18, Kristen Carrie Sandidge, 30, allegedly walked into Tractor Supply Co. at 190 Emerald Parkway, loaded up a cart with $400 worth of power tools, and simply walked out.
Her getaway vehicle idled in the parking lot, and she and the driver loaded up the goods. With the thrill of having committed the perfect crime washing over them, they hit the open road.
Less than a minute later, there was a sputter, then a clunk.
“Unfortunately for the suspects, the truck broke down” just two blocks away from the scene of the crime, said LCSO Sgt. Scott Denham. Still within eyesight of the Tractor Supply, the two pushed the truck into the Dollar General parking lot to regroup.
Despite Sandidge’s efforts to blend in as a paying customer, the relaxed execution of the theft did not go unnoticed. An employee watched the alleged crime unfold, called it in, and Lane County deputy sheriffs Julio Warner and Lex Harrold were en route.
When police found the identified truck at the Dollar General, police could see some of the stolen merchandise inside, but there were no suspects in sight.
Realizing the heat was on and that their head movie had veered off-script, the suspects fled on foot, carrying what they could and stashing the items near Zinkler Lane.
A few hours later, police received a tip that the suspects had returned to the vehicle, and deputy sheriffs Warner and Harrold circled back to the truck and arrested the suspects.
Sandidge cooperated with police, and was arrested for Theft 2 as well as for having an outstanding warrant for failing to appear on Child Neglect II charges in Roseburg.
The other suspect initially provided a false name to police – something that is not uncommon, especially if the suspect already has a warrant out, Denham said.
However, “some people are better at it than others,” he said. “Unfortunately for the male, the false name that he provided … also came back with a warrant issued for his arrest.”
Police have several ways to identify people on warrants: by the physical descriptors – such as height, weight, eyes and hair color – by their social security, and by comparisons from the Department of Motor Vehicles records and previous arrest mugshots.
“In this case, he got stumped in the social security number area,” Denham said.
Because the warrant attached to the fake name provided was greater than that of his own warrant, Robert James Mauer, 42, ultimately fessed up, and was arrested for providing false information to officers, and for an outstanding warrant for failing to appear for Theft II charges in Eugene.
The false name given was likely that of someone Mauer met in either a local jail or in prison, Denham said, and it is something that happens more often than you’d think.
“It happens all the time,” Denham said. “When criminals invoke the name of other criminals, it’s a shot in the dark; if they haven’t been around them recently, they don’t know whether they have a warrant out or not.”
Both were lodged in Lane County Jail and are believed to either be transients or residents of Roseburg.