WHITE COUNTY: Local thefts may have been solved thanks to eBay sting in Carmi
WHITE CO., Ill. - An enterprising rural Crossville guy has moved into alleged crim status after a rather brazen effort to sell allegedly stolen items on eBay.
However, according to documents provided about the matter, Curtis Staton will only be charged with Possession of Stolen Property, and not an actual theft, due to the circumstances surrounding the incident.
It came to authorities' attention on April 18 when Tim Scates went to the White County Sheriff's Office with a report that he'd discovered an irrigation hand sprayer item he believed had belonged to a Sue Wenzel - but which had been stolen recently - for sale on eBay.
The item was a Nelson Big Gun Irrigation Sprinkler SR150, which was being offered for sale in Carmi; the value of the stolen sprayer, which had been sitting by an irrigation system on the farm, was $2,600. It was being offered for sale at a bargain: $800.
Sheriff's officials were unsuccessful in obtaining the identity of the seller through contacting eBay, so they contacted an individual who was willing to contact the sprinkler seller and make an offer. The seller said he could show the item the next day (Wednesday, April 19).
At that time, officers from Carmi police as well as White County Sheriff's department arranged to watch the meetup, which was set to occur on the parking lot of the Carmi CVS parking lot. An officer would drive an unmarked vehicle and pretend to be the buyer, so that this item could be examined and determined as to whether it was the stolen sprinkler. The subject had advised that he would be in a black Ford F150.
When that vehicle came to the scene, however, it appeared the driver observed the white pickup the "seller" (actually a correctional officer at the jail) was in and seemed to change his mind, exiting the parking lot and traveling across the way to Huck's. Officers followed him and identified him as Curtis A. Staton, 36, of County Road 1450E, Crossville. They also identified the sprinkler in the bed of the pickup as the one that had been stolen.
Staton, however, upon questioning, said that while he was the one selling the item on eBay, he had not stolen it, but rather had obtained the sprinkler (as well as other items) from a person in Geff in Wayne County to the north, where he had traveled to trade a pickup for a 4-wheeler and had observed the items for sale. Authorities traveled to his rural residence and retrieved other items, and when State's Attorney Denton Aud was apprised of the entire situation, Staton was taken into custody on an arresting charge of Possession of Stolen Property.
How this is going to shake out remains to be seen; Staton is still jailed and is set for a preliminary hearing on May 8. We'll have full details, however, in the upcoming print edition/eEdition, which is on stands Tuesday/Wednesday of next week, but available Monday night right here online. If you're not an online member, what are you waiting for? Get on there and get your Day Pass for $2.99 or 30-day pass for $5.99. With as many issues as we've been creating lately, IT'S A BARGAIN...so don't miss out. This and other incredible articles are all waiting for you...sign up today!
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