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When a pickup went missing, four clues were left behind.
But one was all Antelope County Sheriff Bob Moore needed.
The sheriff’s department received a report of a stolen vehicle on June 4 at 6:04 a.m. Dennis Bridge of Royal reported that his pickup was missing from the driveway in front of his home, located at 101 3rd St. The keys had been left inside.
When he responded to the call that morning, Sheriff Moore found a set of car keys, a cell phone, a hat and a pair of shoes at the scene.
“I took the set of car keys and drove around Royal hitting the panic button,” he said. “I heard honking off in the distance.”
The sheriff followed the sound to a red Jeep, parked at 2nd and Ponca streets. When he knocked, there was no answer at the door. After responding to another call, Sheriff Moore returned around noon.
He saw a man trying to use a door hanger to unlock the Jeep and approached him.
“When I showed him the keys and unlocked the vehicle, he admitted to taking the pickup the night before,” the sheriff said.
Abisael Santiago Rodriguez, 25, was arrested on the charges of theft by unlawful taking, a class 4 felony, and criminal mischief, a class I misdemeanor.
Sheriff Moore said the stolen pickup was found about a block away from Bridge’s home after a local resident contacted the owner. It appeared to be leaking oil after the theft, which the sheriff said is the reason for the criminal mischief charge.
“The pickup didn’t show any outward signs of damage, except that it looked like it was leaking oil,” he said. “It wasn’t leaking oil in the driveway before, so it was probably caused by some engine damage or something.”
Rodriguez posted bond two days later. He is set to appear in Antelope County Court on July 18.