Wednesday, October 4, 2023 - A Vian woman and a Sallisaw man were arrested Sept. 13 on burglary charges.
Pattie Lynn Bullock, 43, of Vian and Jacob Cruz, 25, of Sallisaw were charged with second-degree burglary and grand larceny. Cruz was also charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, which are misdemeanors.
Both suspects pleaded innocent to their charges, and their next court appearance is set for 9 a.m. Oct. 4. They were also placed on $13,000 bond each.
According to court records, on Sept. 12, a Sallisaw police officer was dispatched to 404 N Cherry St. to take a report of a burglary from Michael Pilkington, who said his father, Reece Pilkington, had come to their shop earlier that day to let the city electric department inside to do some work when he noticed that the shop’s west door had been broken into and several tools were missing.
Upon investigation, the officer noted that the padlock had been unscrewed and taken off the door. Michael Pilkington pointed out that the garage door had been forced open and the side of the garage door’s wooden frame had been shaved off to expose the interior door latch.
The younger Pilkington said he was last at the shop on Sept. 7, while his father was there the next day. He said the suspect would have broken in between the night of Sept. 8 and the early morning of Sept. 12.
Michael Pilkington said that at that time, he was aware that multiple Dewalt tools had been taken, along with a stick welding machine and an air-conditioner window unit. He said the value of the stolen items was about $20,000.
The officer observed a 1973 Chevy Nova in the shop with the driver’s-side door open. Michael Pilkington said the suspect had left the car there and that he had not touched it.
The officer contacted Sallisaw detectives, who went to the Pilkingtons’ shop. They spoke with Michael Pilkington, who stated that he’d found a small tool chest in a room on the north side of the building near a door. The door, an exterior door with no other operating latches, was normally locked, Michael Pilkington said.
Inside the building was a small utility trailer with a small side-by-side utility vehicle. Michael Pilkington stated that he kept several tools there, but he told detectives that most of the tools had been stolen.
A detective also spotted an open pocketknife lying on a shelf on the north side of the room. Michael Pilkington stated that it was his knife, but that he had left it on the trailer with his utility vehicle.
As part of their investigation, detectives photographed the scene and obtained footage from the shop’s security cameras. While taking photos, a detective saw what appeared to be tire tracks
leading down the sidewalk on the north side of the building. A few yards to the north, in a stand of trees, detectives discovered the Pilkingtons’ missing welder, cart and ratchet strap.
On Sept. 13, detectives learned that Cruz and Bullock had been living in a tent near where the burglary occurred. They also discovered that Cruz had sold several Dewalt tools matching the Pilkingtons’ description of the stolen items at a Fort Smith pawnshop. The name on the pawn ticket was Jacob Cruz, according to the affidavit.
At the pawnshop, detectives photographed the items sold and found several of the missing tools there. Investigators also learned that two other people were with Cruz, one of which was a woman with a dog.
That same day, the surveillance videos were sent to the Sallisaw Police Department. The images reportedly showed that Cruz was accompanied by Bullock and Dustin York. York is the next-door neighbor of the trailer Cruz has been living behind.
At about 2 p.m., detectives went to Cherry St. trailer park and spoke to a resident who stated that her husband had allowed Cruz and Bullock to stay in a tent outside their trailer from Sept. 8-12.
Detectives were given permission to search the property, and according to the affidavit, a large amount of stolen property was located.
A detective also spoke with York. A search of his property did not turn up any stolen items.
On Sept. 12, a detective was alerted that Cruz was at the Cherokee Casino in Sallisaw. Cruz and Bullock were then transported to the SPD.
When asked about the stolen property, Cruz denied any knowledge of the incident. The detective told Cruz they had discovered stolen property in his tent. Cruz then admitted that his uncle had a lot of tools and indicated that the stolen property belonged to him. The investigator also told Cruz he had already been identified from security camera footage.
In an interview with Bullock, she stated that she was not involved in the burglary but said she went with Cruz and York when they took the tools to Fort Smith and pawned them. She admitted to taking some of the items from the Pilkingtons’ shop.
Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer
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