July 4th is special. It’s our Country’s birthday, and we Americans celebrate! We are thankful for those men and women who protect our precious freedom. They are our heroes. The home front requires heroes too. Here’s a story about one of our local heroes.
In late April, one of our residents experienced an attempted burglary. She was at home by herself and heard loud insistent banging at her front door. She looked out through a second floor window but didn’t see anyone. She then heard the same insistent banging at the back door. The back door was rattling so hard she could hear her heavy wooden blinds rattling. The resident became scared and began running downstairs… stopped herself and realized, if she were downstairs, there would be no way in which she could help herself.
She then raced back up to the second story and peered out her daughter’s window, where she found herself face to face with one of the burglars who had removed the window screen and was holding it in his hands! Upon seeing her, the burglar dropped the screen, climbed down to ground level and then both suspects took off in their car; but not before she got a license number, description of the vehicle and a description of the two burglars. She phoned 911.
Our City’s NPO (Neighborhood Policing Officer) Thom Taylor received the radio dispatch and proceeded towards the area of that residence. After turning onto Kehrs Mill Road from Clarkson, he spotted a vehicle matching the description and license information given by the witness. As the vehicle drove past him, he could see that the occupants matched the description. When he saw the burglars, he could tell they knew that he knew who they are. What a sight that must have been!
He turned around and caught up with them in time to see them run the red light onto northbound Clarkson Road, almost causing an accident. After proceeding onto northbound Clarkson, Officer Taylor observed the traffic to be slightly busy and the driver of the suspects’ vehicle driving carelessly, speeding and weaving through traffic. Officer Taylor was forced to turn off his lights and siren in the interest of safety. He was able to maintain visual contact with the suspects’ vehicle as it made numerous unsafe lane changes and ran the red lights at Clarkson and Country Ridge as well as Clarkson and Wilson. Just as Officer Taylor was about to lose sight of the suspects, their vehicle was forced onto the shoulder because of stopped traffic and then into the drainage ditch at Park Forest and Clarkson Roads. Officer Taylor confronted both suspects as they exited the vehicle and fled on foot.
The Chesterfield residents living off Clarkson on Park Forest who were home that afternoon must have heard quite some commotion. There were sirens from responding patrol cars represented by three surrounding municipalities. There was now a St. Louis County Police helicopter flying overhead. Police officers were running through back yards checking shrubs, hedges and the like. Those Chesterfield residents were calling the police phone lines fast and furious, most wanting to know what was going on and if they were safe. One resident, however, called to say she spotted a suspect hiding under a neighbor’s porch. Officer Taylor was able to apprehend one of the burglars, while the other continued to flee.
During the interview with the arrested suspect, he ratted on his lifelong partner in crime – having even served prison time together for burglary.
From his encounter on Kehrs Mill Road, Officer Taylor had a description of the burglar who got away and was able to match him with the name given by the arrested burglar to identify the suspect who fled. Officer Taylor contacted the probation officer of the burglar-at-large, and found that he had a probation meeting the very next day. Officer Taylor arranged for officers to be lying in wait and they nabbed him as he arrived.
That afternoon, while everything was going on and through all the commotion and suspense, the Clarkson Valley patrol cars were being outfitted with new mobile ticketing printers. The installer was there as were the cars to be outfitted, but where were the mounting brackets? They were in Officer Taylor’s car, of course. Without skipping a beat – with a phone call stating we need the brackets – he jumped in his car and hightailed the brackets to the City. When the clerks asked why the schools were locked down, he very excitedly stated, “We have a resident who did everything right. All the safety tips that I write about in the magazine, she did!” Then he had to leave. He had a lot of reports to file. He is, after all, our hero!
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