2 arrested, year-long investigation into thermal imager theft comes to close for IDNR

2 arrested, year-long investigation into thermal imager theft comes to close for IDNR
The thermal unit was valued at $6780. (Source: IDNR)

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Ill. (KFVS) - After a year-long investigation into a stolen thermal imager, Conservation Police Officers with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources said arrests have been made.

Brandon Rhoads of Goreville, Illinois was charged, in Jackson County, with felony burglary charges to potentially include possession of burglary tools, burglary to a state owned building, theft of government property less than $10,000, and possession of stolen government property.

Rusty Leeper of Royalton, Illinois was charged in Franklin County with felony possession of stolen Government property.

Officials on June 13, 2018, officers said a MSA Thermal Imager was stolen, by forced entry into a IDNR storage building. The thermal unit was valued at $6780.

Officers said multiple sources were contacted by CPO Johnson, assisted by Sgt. Wright of the Williamson County Sheriff’s office.

The following year, in 2019, officers said Johnson interviewed Rhoads while he served time at the Vandalia Correctional Center.

After investigating further, officials said Rhoads broke into the IDNR building during daylight hours and took several government items along with the imager.

Officials said Rhoads did so all while high on methamphetamine.

A second suspect, Leeper, who assisted in this theft was discovered and was found to have active warrants in two counties, according to officials.

Johnson worked with the Jackson and Williamson County Sheriff’s office to find Leeper.

Officials said Johnson eventually recovered the thermal unit.

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