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Residents react to missing machete man

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POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) - Police are still searching for a possibly armed suspect, 26-year-old Jeffrey Wegener of Nebraska. 

Wegener stole an Oregon County Sheriff Department deputy's truck Sunday night and drove it into the Eleven Point River.

Officials recovered the truck, but not Wegener.   

Police are now searching for him in Oregon, Ripley and Randolph County. 

"If he was to come around, I'd definitely get in the house, lock my doors, get my gun, be ready," Pocahontas resident Glen Badgett said. 
 
The only talk around town Tuesday was this "machete man."

"It's kind of scary," Pocahontas resident Harold Keith said. "How did he get the machete?"
 
An eerie image of a man holding a machete was the only thing on Keith's mind last night when he found out Wegener was on the loose near his daughter's home.
 
"She called me last night really concerned about it and so was I," Wegener said. "I wanted her to come to my house and she wouldn't do it. She said if she heard anything, she'd come to the house."
 
His daughter never heard anything, but now that Wegener could be hiding in Randolph County, Keith is also concerned about his wife and himself.
 
"I'm almost afraid to go out and mow my yard! If he's got a machete, you know," Keith said. 

Keith's home sits on three acres, which he said means plenty of hiding spots. However, he said he feels pretty safe thanks to his body guard.
 
"I have a 100-pound German shepherd in my house, too, so I don't have to worry about that too much, him getting in my house, because it'd be a surprise if you walked into my house with a German shepherd there," Keith said. 

However, other residents are still on edge.

"If a guy's got a machete and stole a sheriff's truck, there's no telling what he's going to do," Pocahontas resident Fanci Eveland said. 

"I'm going to think about it," Badgett said. "We have our doors unlocked all the time so I'm going to go home and tell my wife to lock up."
 
Many Randolph County residents said they keep their doors unlocked because the area is relatively safe. They said in the several years to decades they've lived in the county, they've never experienced anything like this.
 
"Not that I can remember. No," Badgett said. 

"We don't get much advertisement for crazy folks," Eveland said. 

"This is the first I've heard anything like this," Keith said. "First time. I just hope they catch him, you know, I hope they get him."

The sheriff's departments said if anyone sees Wegener, contact them immediately. 

Wegener is still considered armed and dangerous. The departments also said to keep homes and cars locked.

Copyright 2014 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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