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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Linn Valley sting operation uncovers burglary operation


A sting operation by Linn Valley Police uncovered a burglary operation that will taken some time to investigate. (Screen capture/Linn Valley website)


LINN VALLEY – Using a sting operation to buy suspected stolen items on Facebook Marketplace, the Linn Valley Police Department on Saturday, Jan. 21, took a Colorado man and an Adrian, Mo. woman into custody for alleged burglary.

Ronald Whatley of Cortez, Colo., and Christina Hurst of Adrian, Mo., were taken into custody by the Linn Valley Police Department on Saturday for alleged burglary and criminal damage to property.


According to Police Chief Corey Murrison, Linn Valley officers posed as potential buyers for items the department believed were stolen from a Linn Valley residence. A meeting with the sellers was set up in Louisburg, and when the items were positively identified as stolen, the two suspects were taken into custody with the help of the Louisburg Police Department.


Murrison said that the suspects not only confessed to the burglary but also admitted to breaking into several travel trailers in Linn Valley’s RV storage area. Those break-ins had not yet been reported.


The department got its first lead in the case on Thursday after the Overland Park Police Department ran a vehicle identification number on a Harley Davidson motorcycle on a trailer parked in a Drury Inn hotel parking lot. It match the VIN on a motorcycle stolen in Linn Valley.

He said that a clerk at that hotel had been approached by someone who was not a guest about leaving the motorcycle and trailer in the parking lot because the trailer had a flat tire. The clerk became suspicious, went out to take photos, and called the police. When the police arrived, she was able to provide the suspect’s name and phone number because he left that information with her.


Linn Valley Police then learned that the suspects were selling hand tools on the online marketplace, and using a fabricated Facebook account were able to set up the sting.


While investigating those break-ins, police discovered that a camper had been stolen from that lot. After admitting to the theft, the suspects led officers to the camper in Kansas City, Mo.


According to Murrison, the department is working to contact additional victims and is working with the Kansas City Police Department to recover more property. He said it will likely take some time to fully investigate the string of burglaries.


It is the second time this month that Linn Valley Police have been involved in a stolen vehicle case. On Jan. 6 a flatbed pickup stolen from La Cygne was driven into Linn Valley late in the evening.


Murrison said witnesses observed the pickup’s occupants breaking into the golf course. Police intercepted the vehicle as it was leaving the lake development, but the male driver fled on foot, leaving the female passenger in the vehicle. She eventually gave officers the name of the driver, who was eventually taken into custody.


It turns out the couple had driven the pickup up to the gate of the golf course and broke into the course to turn the vehicle around so they could leave the area. Murrison said the reverse gear was not working and the only way the suspects could turn the vehicle around was to drive in a circle.

The La Cygne Police department handled the case.

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