Police: Home burglarized after owners had died

Police say six people helped carry out a string of burglaries at the home of a deceased Brown County couple.

Investigators say the group included Sean P. Anderson, 31, Fruitdale Road, Robert J. Saunders, 35, Morgantown, Kristina M. Agrue, 26, Fruitdale Road, Gregory D. Rea Jr., 31, State Road 45, Tricia E. McDonald, 27, Columbus, and William A. Waltz, 33, Columbus.

On March 16, they were charged with Level 4 felony aiding, inducing or causing burglary; Level 4 felony burglary; Level 6 felony aiding, inducing or causing theft; and Level 6 felony theft.

All have been booked into jail except Agrue.

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department and Nashville Police Department worked for six months to piece together evidence.

On Nov. 15, officers were called to take a report of burglary and theft in the 3500 block of Helmsburg Road.

The couple’s daughter had come to the house to begin documenting items for an estate sale and noticed that drawers had been pulled out and some things were missing.

She found an unlocked door in the basement.

A padlock had been removed from a barn and more items were missing from it, she said. A smaller shed had items in it that were previously in the home, which she had not moved.

The daughter also told Deputy Andrew Eggebrecht that the home’s utility bills had been higher than usual in September.

Eggebrecht noted in a probable-cause affidavit that the home had dust on most surfaces except for a glass-topped stove. A couple of plates were drying in a rack.

Sgt. Mike Moore collected DNA evidence from the property including two cigarette butts and a Gatorade bottle.

The next day, the daughter reported that the items that were in the smaller shed had been taken overnight.

On Dec. 2, Tompkins interviewed Agrue who admitted to having a large role in the burglaries.

She said in August, she and her boyfriend, Anderson, had been staying nearby in the 3000 block of Helmsburg Road. They invited McDonald and Rea over. The two pulled into the driveway of the home in the 3500 block by mistake. They looked around and noticed that the property was vacant.

Agrue, Rea and McDonald researched who owned the home and verified that they had passed away; then, they decided they would burglarize it over the next couple weeks, Agrue told the officer.

The plan was to place items from the home in the smaller shed to be picked up later. They also placed items on a logging trail entrance to the property.

Agrue said the group had planned to do a pickup on Nov. 15, when the daughter was there, but they saw cars in the driveway and feared law enforcement had been called, according to the affidavit.

Police were able to confirm that throughout September, October and November, people in the group pawned, traded and sold the stolen items in Columbus, Indianapolis, Martinsville and Shelbyville, including chainsaws, weed eaters, a lawn mower, entertainment consoles, furniture and a rifle.

Police had placed a GPS tracking device on McDonald’s vehicle because of an unrelated case, and were able to monitor her stops at the home, the report said.

Waltz and Saunders admitted their involvement to police.

In December, police began serving search warrants on the suspects’ homes and places where they dropped off the items, including a camper on Ford Ridge Road and a home in Shelbyville.

Many of the stolen items were recovered.

Others were thrown away, given away, or sold to pay an unpaid storage unit bill, the report said.

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Suzannah Couch grew up in Brown County, reading the Brown County Democrat. A 2013 Franklin College graduate, she covers cops/courts, education and arts/entertainment.