Branson burglary case turns bizarre when suspect returns items

About $20,000 worth of equipment was stolen from a Branson-based business in November.

"One of our vehicles, our production vehicles, it carries a lot of equipment. It got broken into the night of November 15," Jackson+Appleton Video Production Owner Nicholas Appleton said.

Appleton says he had nearly given up on getting the items back when some of it was unexpectedly returned on Tuesday.

Appleton says the items were unique to the production industry.

"You probably wouldn't have known what it is or had a use for it," Appleton said. "When you take it to a pawn shop, a pawn shop is probably going to look at it and say 'we don't understand what this is.' They're things you can't really plug your PlayStation into."

Appleton says when the man returned the case to their offices, he acted very nervous. However, at first, Appleton was just happy to have some of the equipment back.

"A gentleman just walked in the door and returned the item and we're thinking, this is an awesome deal," Appleton said.

However, when Appleton looked at the security footage from this week and compared it to that overnight burglary in November, he saw some very strange similarities.

"The man who returned the gear was driving the exact same car that the perpetrators were driving when they stole the gear. So, it was immediately like 'wow, something is going on here,'" Appleton said.

The man had told the receptionist he found the case outside, but it's completely clean.

"Even though the case doesn't look like it was in his backyard, I just really want to think he's honest, but the fact that he was driving the same vehicle makes you really wonder," Appleton said.

While the guy left a name and a phone number, Appleton hasn't been able to reach him. However, police have been investigating the case and believe the same man who returned the case is one of the suspects from the November burglary.

Obviously, Appleton wants the rest of the items back.

"In our business, too, there is a lot of sentimental value to a lot of things we use," Appleton said.

However, he also wants answers.

"I have no clue [why he brought it back]," Appleton said. "That even makes you want to talk to him more and find out 'Hey, where's the rest of my stuff? And can we find it?'"

Branson officers say they appreciate the community's input in this case, which helped them identify the suspect. They're now working on bringing him into custody.