Theft, gun charges in Columbia incident - Republic-Times | News

Theft, gun charges in Columbia incident

By on May 17, 2017 at 12:46 pm

Jesse Szymanski

A 25-year-old convicted burglar from St. Louis was arrested Tuesday afternoon in Columbia on charges of vehicle theft and possession of a weapon by a felon.

Police say Jesse C. Szymanski was first observed acting suspicious in the backyard of a home in the 100 block of Woodland Terrace Drive about 4 p.m. A woman called 911 to report the incident and Szymanski was last seen running south from that property.

A short time later, Szymanski apparently asked a resident in the 1600 block of Ghent Road to give him a ride to a nearby gas station, police said.

With Szymanski already sitting in the passenger seat of the resident’s 1989 Volvo and this resident still standing outside of his vehicle, a Columbia police officer drove by and asked the resident if he had seen a man matching Szymanski’s description.

The resident told police that Szymanski was in his car, at which point Szymanski slid over into the driver’s side of the car and attempted to back out of the driveway and flee, police explained.

“Our officer got there just in time and blocked him out in such a way that he could not get away,” Columbia Police Chief Jerry Paul said.

With guns drawn, police were able to get Szymanski to surrender, although officers had to physically remove him from the car.

“He wasn’t totally compliant,” Paul said.

Szymanski later told police that he had just used a large amount of methamphetamine, Paul said, so he was transported under police watch to an area hospital.

A Savage .380 pistol was located in Szymanski’s front waistband.

Szymanski was on parole for burglary in Missouri, Paul said, and was also picked up on a fugitive from justice warrant in addition to the vehicle theft and felony firearms charge.

Paul praised the homeowner who initially alerted police to the suspect.

“We applaud the resident who called us,” he said. “They probably prevented a burglary or some major theft from occurring.”

About 5 p.m. Wednesday, Monroe County Sheriff’s Department deputies responded to the area of Roessler Point just outside of Columbia city limits for a suspicious vehicle. Deputies located an unoccupied silver Kia Rio bearing Missouri registration and determined it to be stolen out of Crestwood, Mo. The vehicle was towed to a secure location for processing by the Crestwood Police Department.

An investigation into the stolen car is pending, but police believe it may be connected to Szymanski.

Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.