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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • St. John crime spree leads to stand off, arrests

  • A string of misdemeanor offenses, Sunday afternoon, lead to a stand off and two people being taken into custody.
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  • A string of misdemeanor offenses, Sunday afternoon, lead to a stand off and two people being taken into custody.
    Tyler Bittel, 27 and Traci Raymer, 27, St. John were arrested Sunday afternoon after a brief stand off with police at the residence they were staying in at 429 West Second street in St. John.
    St. John acting police chief, Adam Sayler ended up at the residence after a string of calls from residence about vandalism, breaking and entering and at one location an altercation with a landowner.
    "It started out with a report of criminal damage at 200 W Fourth, St.," Sayler said. "While I was there getting that information I was dispatched to 800 (block of) North Nutting for a burglary in progress."
    When Sayler arrived at the north Nutting location he found the suspects had broken into an abandon house through a rear window. A bloody cloth was found at the scene. The pair removed a couple of items before being confronted by the property owner. They left that residence after the confrontation and eventually returned to the residence on west Second where a stand off ensued for approximately one hour when the couple refused to allow officers to enter without a warrant.
    The remained in the house occasionally taunting officers outside until officers got permission from Bittel's mother, the absent property owner, for permission to enter the residence.
    Raymer opened the door after police informed the pair they had permission to enter and would break down the door if necessary.
    "They opened the door, but didn't come out so we had to remove them," Sayler said.
    The pair were incarcerated and are awaiting formal charges.
    Sayler praised residents who aided them in identifying and locating the subjects so quickly.
    "What could have drug on for days or even weeks was taken care of in just a few hours thanks to the information we received from citizens," he said.
    The neighbor who chased the pair off, and reported the initial destruction on Fourth street gave police a good description of the two individuals and vehicle while the burglary victim got five or six of the numbers of the license tag and that it was from Rush County.
    "I had dispatch call Rush County to see if they had any instances with anyone that fit the description, and of course they had," Sayler said.
    Sayler took a photo he received to the witnesses, who identified Bittel as one of the two subjects they had seen. Sayler said Bittel's mother told them after he got in trouble in LaCrosse he was moving to the house she owned in St. John.
    With that information and reports of vehicle sightings by residence, Sayler and officers from Stafford County, St. John, Macksville and the Kansas Highway Patrol converged on the residence.
    Page 2 of 2 - The couple was taken into custody without incident.
    Mark Jasper, who lives on west Fifth, stated the couple came by his house earlier in the afternoon.
    "They came by my house earlier today, whacked out, I mean totally whacked out," he said. "All they told me was they were coked out."
    Sayler stated at the location on Fourth street the pair started out picking flowers from the garden. Raymer went as far as to put one in her hair and dance around in the street. Bittel went around to the backyard and pulled out a lawn decoration, said he liked it, then broke as he tried to put it back into the ground.
    Jasper stated the couple returned to his neighborhood. He observed Raymer stealing produce from a garage down the block and Bittel urinating behind his garage.
    "He asked me for a bar of soap so he could clean up," Jasper said. "My car and garage was open, I wasn't about to go inside the house for a bar of soap and leave them out there with my stuff. I gave him $5 and told him to go buy a bar of soap."
    On Bittel's facebook page under information he has written, "I'm at the point of my life where partying just dont seem as fun think im going to stop and start a family as soon as i find misses RIGHT."
    The couple remains in custody.
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