BEATRICE – Beatrice Police are investigating additional thefts allegedly tied to the arrest of a local cleaning business owner last week.
65-year-old Dale Simmons was arrested last Thursday night, suspected of taking property from homes where he had done carpet cleaning. Items missing from homes included gold and silver coins, rings and cash.
Police discovered that items had been sold to a local gold and silver dealer and to pawn shops in Lincoln and Junction City, Kansas. Beatrice Police Chief Bruce Lang says investigators have now received more reports of such thefts.
"Since the arrest we've had two to three more folks have come forward and reported the loss of jewelry following having their carpets cleaned. We anticipate there may be more coming in, in the next few days, but that's what we have at this point."
Lang said some of the thefts extend as far back as April, and police are still determining the total value of items taken.
"We're talking in the thousands, for loss amounts here...but how many thousands, I don't know quite yet. We've recovered some jewelry that was pawned and we have not been able to match up very much of it to our victims at this point....so we have some jewelry and we don't know who those victims are, yet. We're hoping to connect those."
Lang says a gold and silver dealer and pawn shops around the area have played a critical role in assisting police during what he described as a complex investigation.
"You know, I can't really say enough good things about the pawn shops and those folks, as far as their cooperation. Because, they've been more than cooperative and making sure that they notify us whenever they take something in...and we're able to then kind of match up the databases. They've been very cooperative."
Lang says the coin and jewelry dealers and pawn shops have legitimate business interests and do their best to assist police on those occasions where authorities are trying to trace things suspected to have been stolen.
Simmons and 37-year-old Stephanie Wieden were arrested Thursday in a vehicle at the Gage County Industrial Park. Following a traffic stop, police located a handgun, a zippered bag with a white powder substance and about $1,100 cash. Simmons was also suspected of drug and weapon violations.
Lang said the female was arrested for drug violations but is not suspected at this time, in the thefts that occurred.