Witness shares driver’s description in stolen Springfield animal rescue trailer

The woman spotted the thieves on West Bypass just minutes after they stole the trailer.
Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 11:39 AM CST
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November 19, 2022
4:45 p.m.
November 19, 2022 4:45 p.m.(Greene County Sheriff's Office)

Security cameras show the men drive right up to the trailer on November 19 and steal it in broad daylight at about 4:45 pm. Minutes later, someone spotted the truck and trailer. The tipster called the Greene County Sheriff’s Office this week with a description of the driver.

“We had a caller give us a tip that they had spotted the vehicle with the trailer attached just five minutes after it was stolen in the area of West Bypass and Kearney Street. She described the driver as a white male with a dark-colored beard, dark hair and had coveralls on,” according to Greene County deputy Paige Rippee. The witness had planned on flagging down the truck driver to let them know they had some damage to the passenger side wheel on the trailer. But she couldn’t keep up with them.

CARE staff leaders say that problem with the back wheel should be easy to spot. “The trailer had been out of commission for a little bit with an axle issue. So whoever did steal the trailer, it would’ve been wobbling quite a bit,” explained Rob Hardy, C.A.R.E.’s Communications Director. The animal rescue relied on the trailer to bring up to 20 dogs and cats to adoption events. C.A.R.E. estimates it will cost $45,000 to replace the equipment.

“The incredible outpouring of community support has always overwhelmed us. We’ve been reached out to by a couple businesses. One asking if we needed help with our security surveillance and some IT help,” said Hardy. This week, an anonymous donor pledged a $1,000 reward for the return of the trailer or a tip that leads to arrests.

Investigators describe the men’s truck as a dark-colored, GMC SUV, possibly a Yukon. It didn’t have plates on it. “Detectives believe that this trailer is still in the area. We’ve had several different spottings over the north side of Springfield. We had a tip given to us over social media that it was possibly in the area of Farm Road 141 which is up near the zoo,” said Rippee.

“We are incredibly grateful for all of the help we’ve had in this situation. We’re just keeping our fingers crossed right now,” Hardy said about finding the trailer.

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