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Sheriff: Don’t be a victim

The Van Buren County Quorum Court heard from the sheriff about ways to avoid falling victim to thieves last week during its monthly meeting.

Sheriff Scott Bradley said the days are gone when residents can leave keys in their cars and their doors unlocked. “We don’t need to make ourselves easy targets, but sometimes we do.”

He advised residents to keep a list of serial numbers of items such as four-wheelers and electronics in a safe place. That way, he said, the sheriff’s office will know more about the stolen item than just that it’s “a green Honda four-wheeler.”

Sheriff’s investigator Wesley Potts told the Quorum Court that there were 23 property crimes reported in January. The number fell to 16 in February and is at eight so far in March. Potts said he keeps a map with thefts by area in the county, using different color dots for each area. He said there have been several thefts in the Bee Branch area and eight suspects have been arrested. Late last year, there were several thefts in the Scotland area, he said. This year, there was been only one there and an arrest was made the next day.

Bradley said the sheriff’s office solves quite a few thefts, but can use help. “We love nosy neighbors,” he said. He encouraged neighbors to look out for one another.

He said thieves watch houses and when they notice dark ones or ones where no one is home often, they become targets. He said to keep entryways and doorways lighted and let neighbors know when you’re going to be gone on vacation. But, he said, do not announce vacation plans on Facebook.

Also at the meeting:

• The Quorum Court tabled a motion to appropriate $600 to pay an election coordinator to cover for Jeff Hall who is running for the office of county clerk in May. Justice of the Peace Dale James said it would amount to paying two people for the same job and he would like to see Hall take a week’s vacation. Hall was not at the meeting and the motion to table the request was unanimous.

• County Judge Roger Hooper said that since December, the county road crew has spent 25 days clearing ice and snow.

• Bradley said ground has been broken for the new state-of-the-art 190 foot communications tower to replace the one that was damaged in a tornado last year. He said the ground needs to dry a bit more before the digging can begin for the footings.

• Jail administrator Randy Murray said the jail is within budget for medical expenses and that costs have been cut in the kitchen. The jail has switched vendors, and, “We’re staying close on the food budget.”

• Brian Tatum was recognized through a proclamation of appreciation for his work with the Van Buren County rescue squad. Hooper said he plans to recognize an individual or group with such a proclamation at each meeting.

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