Friday, April 22, 2011

Police Chief Chat

This past week, the Rolla Police Department handled 808 calls for service. Of these calls there were: 20 arrests, 13 alarms, 16 accidents, 38 traffic complaints, 163 traffic stops, 27 disturbance (including domestics), 14 suspicious nature, 26 assists of other agencies, 8 narcotics violations, 11 public relations contacts, 26 security checks, 42 animal control calls, 6 mental health calls and 50 follow up investigations. This call total is up 147 calls from last week. With numerous arrests from our Street Crimes and Patrol Divisions, a tragic fire south of town and the arrest of suspects in the Town & Country bank robbery it was yet another busy week!

On Friday, October 8, 2010 at approximately 2:38 pm the Rolla Police Department received a 911 call indicating that there had just been a robbery at the Town and Country Bank located at 910 South Highway 63 in Rolla. Officers from the Rolla Police Department responded to the scene and determined that a white male had robbed two bank employees while they were filling the ATM machine located outside of the bank near the drive thru area. The suspect knocked one employee down and stole two plastic containers which contained United States currency. The robber left the bank on foot with an unreleased amount of cash. One employee sustained minor injuries during the robbery, the other employee was not injured.

A lengthy investigation into this robbery was conducted by the Rolla Police Department's Division of Criminal Investigations Unit and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. On Monday, April 19, 2011, arrest warrants were issued by Judge Ron White for three suspects connected to this robbery. On Tuesday, April 20, 2011, officers arrested two suspects in the 12000 block of County Road 8070. Arrested were Sara J. Deluca age 22 of Rolla. Sara was one of the two bank employees who were reportedly robbed. Also arrested was Deluca's boyfriend Kevin D. Ellis age 23 of Rolla. Also Tuesday, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department's Fugitive Task Force arrested Sara's brother James M. Deluca age 38 of San Diego, California. All three were arrested for 2nd Degree Robbery and Conspiracy. Each had a bond of $250,000.00. Sara Deluca and Kevin Ellis were later incarcerated in the Phelps County Jail. James Deluca was incarcerated in the San Diego County Jail pending extradition to Missouri. More arrests are anticipated in this case.

Anyone having any information pertaining to this bank robbery is encouraged to call Detective Robert Jones at the Rolla Police Department at (573) 308-1213.The charges for which the above mentioned suspects were arrested are merely accusations and are not evidence of guilt. Evidence in support of the charges must be presented before a court of competent jurisdiction whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence. I would like to congratulate our investigators in the Criminal Investigations Unit and the agents with the FBI office for their patience and diligence in bringing this case to a successful ending.

On Tuesday, April 20, 2011, at approximately 8:21 a.m., Central Communications received multiple 911 calls of a fully involved structure fire in the 14000 block of South U.S. Highway 63. A dual response was initiated and the Rolla Rural Fire Department and the Doolittle Fire Department were dispatched to the scene. Within a few minutes Phelps County Deputies arrived on scene and confirmed that the structure was fully involved. The deputies advised there were several people trapped inside the burning structure and asked for the Rolla City Fire Department to respond to the scene. The three Deputies attempted to make entry into the home, but were unable to do so because of the heavy smoke and fire. Fire units began arriving at 8:33 a.m. and found the structure was fully engulfed and determined that it was not safe for fire personnel to enter the structure. The fire was later brought under control by firefighters from the Rolla City Fire and Rescue, Rolla Rural Fire Department, Doolittle Fire Department and St. James Fire Department. There were four people transported to the Phelps County Regional Medical Center for smoke inhalation, who were treated and released.

As a result, an investigation into the cause of this fire was initiated by the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department, Rolla Rural Fire Department and the Missouri State Fire Marshall’s Office. Although investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire, there have been three confirmed fatalities. The identities of those fatally injured are not being released at this time. Despite earlier reports that this residence was a group home, the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department has confirmed that it was a privately owned residence. Our hearts and prayers go out to the family in this tragic time. I would also like to commend the brave men and women of the Fire Service and Law Enforcement for their efforts!

On a lighter note, this past week, we have a changing of the guard in our Parking Control Division. Parking Control Officer Warren Hogan is retiring and will be turning the Cushman trike over to our newest member of the Rolla Police family, Larry Seest. Warren came to us after a lengthy career in law enforcement to include the Crestwood Police Dept. and the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Warren also served a full career in the Missouri National Guard. We enjoyed Warren's service with the Rolla Police Department and wish him well in his 3rd retirement! Larry Seest comes to us after serving 30 years with Rolla Fire and Rescue where he served as Fire Marshall and even filled in as acting Chief. Larry also served as a reserve deputy for the Phelps County Sheriff's Department and is one of our VIPS volunteers. We really hate to see Warren go, but are thrilled to see Larry take the reins. Be sure to say hello to Larry when you see him patrolling the downtown area.

In closing, I would like to remind you that next Thursday, April 28, 2011, in observance of Bicentennial anniversary of the New Madrid Earthquake of 1811, The City of Rolla Office of Emergency Management will be participating in the “2011 Central U.S. Shakeout”. The U.S. Shakeout 2011 is the first year of The Great Central US ShakeOut, a drill designed to educate the public about how to protect themselves during a large earthquake, and how to get prepared. We will be sounding our EWS warning sirens during the event. If you or your family or business would like to participate, simply go to the SEMA website at: then click on the large blue box in the center of the page. This site will allow you to not only register for the event but to also view others who are participating. You may also view a video-clip of students in a Jefferson City School participating in the drill. There is also downloadable manuals available on the site to show you how to participate in this important exercise. If you have any questions contact City of Rolla Emergency Management Director, S/Sgt. Rick Williams at 308-1213.

Have a great week!

Chief Mark Kearse

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