Two teenage boys and a man wreaked havoc throughout Lincoln County community during the month of December burglarizing more than a dozen homes. Sheriff John Cottle spearheaded a task force to solve the multiple burglaries, thefts and property damage reports coming into the Sheriff’s Office.
The burglaries and property thefts began around December 1, 2018, and continued steady for approximately 30-days. During the course of the investigation, witnesses told investigators they observed a silver minivan occupied by one black male and a white male in the area of the burglaries.
The burglars took guns, money, jewelry, archery equipment, ammunition and Christmas presents from homes and in some cases severely damaging the interior of homes to get to property.
On January 3, 2019, during an unrelated traffic stop in the area of Davis Road, in Lincoln County, a silver minivan fitting the description of the suspect vehicle and a Mercury Mountaineer were forced to stop behind deputy’s patrol vehicle, due to the road being partially blocked.
The silver minivan matched the description of van seen near the burglaries. The van was occupied by 20-year-old Delano Coleman, of Troy. When deputies approached the minivan, they could see Coleman stuffing jewelry into his jacket pockets and when asked about it he could not explain where it came from.
The Mercury Mountaineer was occupied by 17-year-old Matthew Stephens, of Silex, and 17-year-old Kody Kneib, of Troy. The three, matching the descriptions given by witnesses, were transported to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office for questioning.
Kneib told investigators he, Coleman and Stephens took part in multiple burglaries in Lincoln County for weeks. Kneib said they were responsible for stealing multiple rifles, shotguns, handguns, muzzleloaders, money, Christmas presents and rare coins.
Stephens told investigator he also took part in the burglaries with Kneib and Stephens and stole several weapons, money, jewelry and other items.
Coleman denied being part of the burglaries.
Sheriff’s Office detectives recovered stolen weapons, cash, coins, jewelry, archery items, ammunition, backpacks and some electronic devices from the residences of Coleman, Stephens and Kneib.
The Sheriff’s Office believe the two teenagers and man were responsible for more than a dozen burglaries to include property damage in excess of $50,000.
Detectives expect additional charges in this case as the investigation continues.
Coleman is charged with three counts of felony Burglary and three counts of Stealing a Firearm. Coleman is currently housed in the Lincoln County Jail under a $20,000 bond. Other conditions of bond may apply.
Kneib is charged with three counts of felony Burglary and three counts of Stealing a Firearm. Kneib is currently housed in the Lincoln County Jail under a $20,000 bond. Other conditions of bond may apply.
Stephens is charged with three counts of felony Burglary and three counts of Stealing a Firearm. Stephens is currently housed in the Lincoln County Jail under a $50,000 bond. Other conditions of bond may apply.
Sheriff John Cottle thanks the community for the multiple tips surrounding this investigation and asks the victims to be patient as detectives contact them to identify their stolen property.