Aggravated Battery Arrest

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TO:  All Media

DATE: November 18, 2014

FOR:  Immediate Release

RE: Aggravated Battery Arrest


On November 16, 2014 at approximately 3:21 a.m., Crawford County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to Lightning Creek Restaurant and Bar at 134 S. US 69 Highway regarding what was reported as a vehicle/pedestrian accident in the parking lot.


The reporting party indicated that the vehicle involved- what was later found to be a Chevrolet truck driven by Matthew Ian Grotheer, 25 years of age of Pittsburg- had left the scene.  Grotheer returned a short time later driving the same vehicle.


Further investigation indicates that Grotheer got into an altercation with Steven Melton, 45 years of age of Pittsburg.  Both parties were inside the truck at the time.  Reports indicate that the initial altercation ended and Melton was walking away from Grotheer’s truck when Grotheer put the truck in reverse and accelerated toward Melton, running over him.  Statements indicate that Grotheer then put the truck in drive and again struck Melton before leaving the scene.  Another reported victim, Jayme Wickham, 39 years of age of Arma was also in the path of Grotheer’s truck.  Wickham was not struck by the vehicle and reported no injuries.  Melton was transported by Crawford County EMS to Via Christi in Pittsburg with possible internal injuries.


Upon Grotheer’s return he was placed into custody by law enforcement and transported to the Crawford County Jail.  He was booked in for Aggravated Battery, Aggravated Assault, Criminal Threat and Driving Under the Influence.  Bond was set at $25,000.  Reports have been forwarded to the Crawford County Attorney for review and potentially further charges.


Arma Police provided assistance at the scene.


This incident remains under investigation by the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office.

Update on July Home Intrusion/Shooting

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TO: All Media
DATE: November 7, 2014
FOR: Immediate Release
RE:  July Home Intrusion/Shooting- UPDATE

On the morning of July 19, 2014 at 4:32 a.m., Crawford County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the 100 block of South 250 Street regarding a reported home intrusion.

Deputies found a juvenile male victim suffering from a gunshot wound to his right shoulder lying in a ditch in that location. The victim, who resides at 153 S. 250 Street, reported that he heard a noise in the house and got up to investigate. The victim reports that he found two home intruders in the living room of the house. The suspects were described as males wearing black clothing and masks. The victim reported that the suspects fled on foot and the victim gave chase, armed with a handgun. The victim states that gunfire was exchanged with the fleeing suspects, resulting in him being shot in the shoulder. The victim’s mother was on scene and attending to the victim’s wound prior to deputies’ arrival. The mother stated that she was woken by the victim’s warning of an intruder in the house.

A foot search for suspects was conducted by Sheriff’s Deputies and Pittsburg Police Department’s canine unit. Deputies also utilized thermal imaging technology in the search. No suspects were located.

This incident remains under investigation. Anyone with further information is encouraged to contact the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office at 620-724-8274.


Update on investigation:

At the time of the initial investigation investigators/deputies had reason to question the validity of the claims made by the reported victim, based on evidence observed and gathered at the scene of the alleged break-in.

The reported victim was being prepped for surgery and treated for the gunshot wound which hindered the immediate investigation.  With deputies’ unable to locate suspects in the extensive search of the area, investigators chose to wait for the results of the ballistics report to determine the legitimacy of the reported victim’s claims.

On September 26, 2014 the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office received the report from the Crime Lab.  The evidence from the .40 cal pistol owned by the reported victim and recovered from the scene, was the same gun used to fire all the spent shell casings recovered from outside the residence and the same weapon used to fire the bullet/projectile recovered from the victim’s right shoulder area during surgery.

After concluding the investigation, investigators are now sending all reports from the incident to the Crawford County Attorney’s Office for review.


Scam Alert

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The Crawford County Sheriff’s Office has taken recent fraud reports from individuals who have purported themselves to be IRS Agents. These “agents” instruct their victims to purchase prepaid money cards at local retailers. They then have the victims scratch off the security tape off of the back and read to them the PIN number associated with that card. Once the caller has the PIN number they can then use it as anyone would if they had the card in hand.

Please read this warning from the IRS for more information on these types of phone scams-

Railroad Material Theft/Arrest

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TO:  All Media

DATE:  July 17, 2014

FOR:  Immediate Release

RE: Criminal Damage/Theft Arrest


On July 17, 2014 at 8:27 a.m. Crawford County 911 Center received a call of two males on the Burlington Northern Railroad right of way near 560 Avenue/K7 Hwy intersection.  The caller reported that the suspects were cutting wire off of railroad utility poles and hauling it away.  The caller was able to provide dispatch with a vehicle description as they left the area.


At 8:44 a.m. a Crawford County Deputy stopped a 2007 Chevrolet sedan registered to Car Credit Leasing of Joplin, MO.  The vehicle contained nearly 200 feet of copper wire and miscellaneous steel railroad track pieces and components.


The occupants of the vehicle- Terrell L. Pepper, 32 of Pittsburg and Patrick E. Orender, 45 of Pittsburg were placed into custody.  Pepper and Orender were each charged with Felony Theft and Trespassing on Railroad Property.  Bond for each is $3000.


The incident remains under investigation by the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office and Burlington Northern Railroad officials.

Motorhome fire

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On June 3, 2014 at 8:16 p.m., Crawford County dispatch was notified by Pittsburg Police of an explosion and fire at 1282 S. 220 Street south of Pittsburg.  

A neighbor advised deputies that Mark McAtee, 26 of rural Girard, came to the door needing assistance.  McAtee was suffering from burns to his hands, legs and face after a propane tank on a motorhome exploded.  McAtee reported to deputies that he had lit a stove in the motorhome when the explosion occurred.  McAtee was transported to Via Christi Medical Center then later to the KU Medical Center Burn Unit.

An investigation by fire officials indicates the explosion was accidental.

Responding to the call were units from Baker Fire Department and Crawford County EMS.

The 1987 Toyota motorhome is registered to Sherry Lynn Dodd of Joplin, MO.

This incident remains under investigation.