A New Athens native faces felony charges in connection with a residential burglary early last Sunday evening east of Waterloo.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department said deputies were called to the 6200 block of Ole Still Drive off Route 156 shortly before 4:50 p.m. Oct. 18. Upon arrival, it was learned the victims of the residential burglary were also missing their 2008 Toyota Tundra, police said. Sitting in the driveway was an unoccupied 2020 Kia Forte that was determined to have been reported stolen out of St. Louis City.
The MCSD and Metro East Auto Theft Task Force followed several leads throughout the investigation, during which a suspect was identified. Investigators learned the suspect had been arrested on unrelated charges in Freeburg Police Department early the morning of Oct. 17 and had been released from the St. Clair County Jail on Oct. 18.
Police said this suspect was able to make it to the Metro Link, board a train and ride it to St. Louis. Once the suspect exited the Metro Link Train near Laclede’s Landing, the suspect stole a 2020 Kia Forte from the 600 block of N. Second Street in St. Louis. The suspect drove the stolen Kia to the residence east of Waterloo. The suspect then burglarized the home, stealing the keys to the Toyota Tundra.
Investigators continued to follow leads and spent days searching in Missouri for the stolen Toyota Tundra. Police were able to gain information that the suspect and the stolen truck from Waterloo may be near a hotel in Maryland Heights, Mo. With assistance from the Maryland Heights Police Department, investigators located the vehicle and the suspect inside it.
As police went to block the vehicle into the parking spot, the suspect tried to flee. The suspect placed the truck in reverse, backed over the curb through some landscaping and started down a hill toward Dorsett Road near Interstate 270. The truck became stuck and the driver was taken into custody and transported to the Maryland Heights Police Department.
The Monroe County State’s Attorney’s Office charged Nicholas J. Pitchford, 31, formerly of Marissa but most recently a resident of St. Charles, Mo., with residential burglary and two counts of possessing a stolen/converted vehicle. Bond was set at $40,000. Pitchford remains in custody in Missouri awaiting extradition to Monroe County.
“The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department would like to thank the Metro East Auto Theft Task Force, Illinois State Police Crime Scene Investigators, Maryland Heights Missouri Police Department and the Freeburg Police Department for their assistance in this investigation,” the sheriff’s department stated in a press release.