Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

TO:  All Media

DATE: March 29, 2016

FOR:  Immediate Release

RE: Pursuit/Arrest



On March 28, 2016 at 3:59 am, a Deputy Sheriff with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office located a vehicle matching the description of a vehicle whose driver was believed to have been involved with an attempted burglary in Frontenac, KS, two stolen license plates in Pittsburg, KS and also a police pursuit in Pittsburg.


The vehicle, a newer model Chevrolet Camaro was first located near Arcadia, KS travelling west on 710 Avenue.  The operator of the Camaro attempted to evade the deputy by driving with vehicle lights turned off for periods of time and displaying other signs of reckless driving.  At one point the operator turned his vehicle to face the oncoming deputy.  The operator accelerated and steered the vehicle towards the deputy’s vehicle.  The deputy was forced to take evasive maneuvers to avoid being struck by the suspect vehicle.  The pursuit was terminated as the deputy lost sight of the suspect vehicle by the time he had turned around to continue the pursuit.


At 4:25 am, an officer with Arma Police encountered the vehicle, pursuing it west out of Arma only to lose sight of it as well.  At 4:36 am, the vehicle was located by the original deputy on K47 Highway and pursued it eastbound.  The suspect vehicle went off the roadway in the 400 block of E. K47 Highway and fled on foot.  The suspect was located by deputies hiding in some brush near a residence in the area and taken into custody.  Deputies seized a 9mm handgun, two stolen license plates, drugs and drug paraphernalia from the car and the area around it.


The Camaro was found to be a stolen vehicle from Briggs Automotive of Ft. Scott, KS.


The suspect, Tommy John Stofanik, 24 of Pittsburg, KS was booked into the Crawford County Jail on the following charges:

Aggravated Assault

Felon in Possession of a Firearm

Flee and Elude

Reckless Driving

Possession of Stolen Property

Possession of a Controlled Substance

Possession of Hallucinogens

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia


Bond is set at $10,000 with another bond of $5,000 for Burglary charges out of Frontenac, KS.


Tommy John Stofanik is presumed innocent unless and until the allegations against him are proved beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


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


Home Invasion/Robbery Arrest

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

TO:  All Media

DATE: March 18, 2016

FOR:  Immediate Release

RE: Arrest



On March 17, 2016 at approximately 5:14 a.m., Crawford County Deputies were dispatched to 607 W. Magnolia Street, Cherokee, KS regarding a home invasion and robbery that had just occurred.

On arrival, deputies spoke with the victim, Billie Purdum, 26 of Cherokee who alleged that Blake St. Clair, 28 of Overland Park, KS entered her home, assaulted and robbed her.

Purdum informed deputies that St. Clair, whom Purdum has a Protection from Abuse order against from a previous relationship, entered her home through a broken window that St. Clair had damaged previously.  Purdum and her nine year old son were both asleep at the time he entered the residence.  Purdum said that St. Clair physically restrained her to keep her from getting to her cell phone to call for help and car keys, both of which were on the nightstand next to her bed.  Purdum stated that St. Clair took her keys and phone and went to her car in the driveway.  After a struggle with Purdum, St. Clair was able to unlock the car.  He removed Purdum’s purse and after another struggle, removed her wallet from the purse which had cash in it and ran eastbound from the residence.  Purdum was able to locate her cell phone and call 911.

St. Clair was located, still on foot, by deputies near the area of 160th Street and 540 Avenue.  He was approximately one-half mile away from his car which was parked in a field entrance.  Deputies located cash on the ground near the area that they first encountered St. Clair.  Deputies also located a wallet belonging to Purdum buried under a mound of dirt.

St. Clair was taken into custody and transported to the Crawford County Jail.  He was booked in on the following charges:


–          Robbery

–          Aggravated Burglary

–          Possession of a Controlled Substance

–          Violation of a Protection Order

–          Criminal Restraint

–          Theft

–          Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

–          Battery

–          Criminal Damage


St. Clair’s bond is set at $25,000


Billie Purdum suffered minor injuries during the incident but declined medical treatment.


Blake K. St. Clair is presumed innocent unless and until the allegations against him are proved beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


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


Aggravated Battery Arrest

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

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

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

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

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

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-