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Beware, thiefs in Benton. After the recent arrests of four people for property crimes, the Benton Police Department has decided to lay down a plan of action to significantly lower all crimes.
"Since June 1 there have been 134 cases of theft, burglary and breaking-and-entering crimes in the city of Benton. These incidents have not gone unnoticed and the Benton Police Department is pushing back against this trend using various resources," Lt. Kevin Russell said.
Residents might have noticed more officers in more places, and that is all part of the design.
"We have already doubled our street presence, through reassignments of personnel and overtime, in an attempt to provide more eyes on the streets and bring those responsible to justice," Russell said. "Officers will be utilizing plain clothes and vehicles for surveillance operations and patrols â€” of both neighborhoods and business areas â€” where the highest frequency of crimes are occurring."
He added, "Another part of this initiative is developing community contacts while providing the saturation patrols in an attempt to reach out to the public for assistance in locating those responsible. The neighborhood watch concept, both residential and business versions, is paramount in situations like this in helping to catch the criminals committing these crimes."
Russell said that surveillance operations already are starting to show success. He said this was what caused the apprehension of a man who is believed to have been stealing scrap metal.
Steven David Cook, 31, was charged with two counts of theft of property and two counts of criminal trespassing for the alleged theft at TSI Inc.
Ryan Ferguson, 27, of Alexander recently was arrested after he allegedly broke into an office at Holland Chapel Baptist Church and stole a $5,000 laptop computer. He faces charges of commercial burglary, theft of property and two counts of theft by receiving. As of press time, Ferguson remains in the Saline County jail on a $5,000 sheriff's bond.
On Tuesday, officers working saturation patrols took 28-year-old Chris Davis and 25-year-old Brandon Neeley into custody when drugs were found during a traffic stop. Davis and Neeley reportedly fled during the traffic stop, but were apprehended a short time later.
Davis and Neeley each faces charges of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, possession of schedule III and IV narcotics with intent to deliver. and fleeing on foot. Davis was additionally charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and theft by receiving after a pistol reported stolen from Conway was found in his possession, the report noted.
"The Benton Police Department will continue these enhanced patrols and surveillance operations until all of those responsible are apprehended," Russell said. "For information regarding crime statistics, please visit www.bentonpolice.org and www.crimereports.com to see what areas the highest frequency of crimes occur and for real-time crime mapping and tracking."
Anyone with information relating to these crimes is strongly encouraged to call the Benton Police Department at 778-1171 or leave a tip at 315-TIPS. Individuals also may send an anonymous crime tip to CRIMES (274637) with the keyword BNPD in the body of the text.