Police arrest man in connection with vehicle thefts south of Columbia

Friday, July 18, 2008 | 1:06 p.m. CDT; updated 12:26 a.m. CST, Wednesday, November 26, 2008

COLUMBIA — A St. Charles man suspected of two separate vehicle thefts was arrested in Columbia on Thursday afternoon after he called the Boone County Sheriff’s Department, said Maj. Tom Reddin.

After a three-day search, Jesse W. Rodgers, 18, was arrested on suspicion of two counts of resisting arrest, first-degree tampering, stealing, second-degree burglary and deserting the U.S. Marine Corps.

Police contacted a dark-haired man in a dark shirt, blue jeans and tennis shoes at about 11 a.m. Tuesday when they responded to a call about a suspicious person living in a van in the New Town subdivision south of Columbia. When they discovered that his van had been reported stolen, the man ran into nearby woods. The Missouri State Highway Patrol’s K-9 unit chased after him but could not find him.

Around 6:30 p.m., a GMC Yukon was reported stolen from an open garage in the 3100 block of South Old Ridge Road. Police tracked the vehicle using its On-Star system to a dead-end road off of Old Plank Road, south of Route K. Police tried to stop the vehicle, but the suspect drove to the end of the road and ran into the woods. Again, the highway patrol sent its K-9 unit after him but couldn’t find him.

Police kept searching for the suspect near the New Town subdivision. On Thursday, Rodgers called the sheriff’s department and arranged a meeting, at which point he was aware he would be taken into custody, Reddin said. Police met Rogers at about 4:50 p.m. in the 1800 block of Field Street. He is being held at Boone County Jail, and his bond is set at $22,500. However, his warrant for military desertion carries no bond, which means police will detain him until military officials take him into custody.

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