Car thief at large, wanted by multiple counties
By: JORDAN GRUCZA
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
Macoupin County resident Robert McDaniels is currently wanted by the Macoupin County Sheriff’s Department on a no bond warrant and wanted in questioning for a string of car thefts.
At the time of publication McDaniels was reported by Sheriff Shawn Kahl to be at large. Kahl said McDaniels was last seen at a gas station on Frontage Road in Farmersville.
According to Kahl, the Sheriff’s Department made initial contact with McDaniels July 11 at 6:28 p.m. when a deputy responded to a call from the Calvary Baptist Church in Woodburn in reference to an abandoned truck.
When the deputy arrived he found a silver 2003 Toyota Tacoma, but when he ran the license plates, they were registered to a Lincoln sedan. Through more investigation it was discovered that the pickup, driven by McDaniels, was involved in a pursuit in Bethalto the night before, and the Sheriff’s Department believes Calvary to be the location McDaniels abandoned the vehicle.
Through later investigation it was discovered by another deputy, after attempting to figure out who the vehicle belonged to, it was determined the vehicle was stolen out of Bushnell, Fla. The Sheriff’s Department had information that McDaniels had visited Florida recently, which they then reported to Bushnell police.
On July 12, the next day, the Macoupin County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a pursuit on Old Route 66 in Montgomery County.
“At 2:34 p.m. a state trooper was following a vehicle driven by McDaniels,” Kahl said. “I don’t know the particulars of this because it wasn’t our county, but we got involved because it was right on the Macoupin/Montgomery county line. We had deputies respond in that area and assist in the attempt to locate the individual because the car went off the road and crashed.
“That’s when the driver fled the scene into a corn field,” Kahl said. “The state police had canine units and two aircraft respond. They were unable to locate him.
“At approximately 3:30 p.m., at the 20000 block of Grosenheider Road in Macoupin County, a Litchfield unit helping with the search spotted a tractor with a subject on it,” Kahl said. “It looked like it traveled around the residence and struck a tree and stopped. At the moment the officer arrived, there was nobody on the tractor. The driver had apparently fled and left the engine running.”
According to Kahl, the owner of the residence showed up a few minutes later and the owner of the tractor then showed up shortly after. After examining the area, the owner of the residence realized that his dump truck was missing.
Macoupin County police have since located the dump truck, which is a 1995 Chevrolet 3500 with a white cabin and a black dump bed.
“The dump truck was later recovered in Montgomery County at a residence on the 6200 block of Niemanville Trail in Litchfield,” Kahl said. “Then it was discovered that this residence was also broken into and another vehicle, a blue 2016 GMC Terrain SUV, was stolen from there.”
On July 13 at approximately 12:20 a.m., the Sheriff’s Department received a call from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office requesting assistance at the Travel Center, a gas station located on Frontage Road in Farmersville.
McDaniels had been spotted there and proceeded to run north into a corn field. Deputies responded to assist and a canine unit arrived 30 minutes later to track McDaniels, but they were unable to locate him.
Within an hour later, Macoupin deputies responded to a call in Nilwood regarding McDaniels. The deputies approached a residence and spoke to an individual who said they hadn’t seen McDaniels, but parked in the back of the house there was the blue GMC Terrain SUV.
After they ran the registration they confirmed it belonged to the individual on Niemanville Trail outside of Litchfield.
“At that point in time we were busy,” Kahl said. “Montgomery County was tied up. They didn’t have anybody to send to this address. It was the same area where we were trying to locate McDaniels before.
“So at that point an Illinois state trooper went to the residence where he discovered the stolen Chevrolet dump truck,” Kahl said. “A window of the house had been broken out, so we believe there was a residential burglary there. There was nobody in the house at the time and McDaniels was not located.”
Kahl stated that this is the last reported activity connected to McDaniels. Multiple counties continue the search. Outside of the Macoupin warrant, McDaniels is also wanted by Montgomery County and by the Alton Police Department.
McDaniels is on parole, previously incarcerated at the Taylorville Correctional Center. There he served time for several sentences dating back to 2015, charges including residential burglary, forgery, aggravated battery in a public space and theft of motor fuel.
For any information in connection to the whereabouts of Robert McDaniels, call the Macoupin County Sheriff’s Office at (217) 854-3135 or the Macoupin/Montgomery County Crimestoppers at 1-800-352-0136.