Pekin considers ban for four men accused of theft
PACKWOOD — The Pekin Community School District Board of Directors will be considering banning individuals from the school grounds during its Nov. 12 meeting.
Trooper Mike Telfer of the Iowa State Patrol explained the school board is looking at banning four men arrested by the Iowa State Patrol for involved in recent major thefts at the school to set an example of nontolerance.
The men are: Dakota David Woodard, 19, of 1516 Highway 34, Batavia; Bryan Allan Kephart, 20, of 1112 Highway 1 and 78, Richland; Justin Haile, 19, of 412 Marshall St., Ollie; and Bridger Wolcott, 19, of 1236 310th St., Brighton.
According to Telfer, there have been three major thefts in the past 11 months at Pekin schools, with two of the thefts occurring in the last three months.
The most recent event occurred at 1:33 a.m. Aug. 13. The school pickup was stolen, eventually driven to the 50-yard line of the football field, parked and locked. The keys were stolen, and there were two other attempted thefts at that time.
Telfer said it cost the school district $146 to replace the keys and $450 to replace the ignition system.
Wolcott and Woodard were arrested Sept. 19 and charged with operation of a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent and fifth-degree theft.
Pop, candy, meat and other food totaling $850 was taken from Pekin’s baseball/softball concession stand this summer after the lock was picked to gain entrance. Telfer said the theft occurred the afternoon of July 26, but wasn’t discovered until Aug. 17.
Woodard, Kephart and Haile were arrested and charged with third-degree burglary Oct. 30.
Telfer said more than $3,000 of weight equipment was stolen Dec. 24 from the school’s weight room. About $2,500 of the equipment has been returned.
According to Telfer, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office has its suspects, but not enough evidence to charge anyone yet.
He added since the theft was a felony, there is a three year period to file charges.
Telfer said more than $4,406 were stolen in the three thefts, and $1,906 of stolen items still need to be replaced.
“Small schools can’t afford to have over $1,000 stolen every year … taxpayers can’t afford it,” said Telfer, who volunteers at Pekin. “Pekin wants to send a message that it won’t tolerate this stuff. It wants taxpayers and donors to know their taxes and donations are well invested and won’t be stolen.”