Arrest of Local 18-Year-Old Solves Numerous Burglaries

Jesse Pickel

Including Two at the Douglas County Herald

Jesse Pickel
Jesse Pickel

The arrest last week of an 18-year-old Ava man solved numerous area burglaries that have occurred over a period of several months.
On Aug. 14, Sheriff Chris Degase and Sgt. Vernon Johnson, of the Sheriff’s Dept., arrested Jesse Pickel, age 18 of Ava, after they received information that Pickel had broken into the Douglas County Herald during the overnight hours.
Sheriff Degase and Sgt. Johnson were able to recover over $1,000 in computer equipment that had been taken from the Herald and a small amount of change and cash.
Sheriff Degase said he then began questioning Pickel on numerous other burglaries in the city limits of Ava and Douglas County. At the conclusion of the investigation Pickel was charged with the 10 counts of burglary and 10 counts of theft/stealing. Of the 20 charges, 13 are felonies and seven are misdemeanors.
The charges stemmed from the following burglaries:
Douglas County Herald (twice); Ava VFW Post; Highway Church of Nazarene; Ava United Methodist Church; Ava Water Park; Common Grounds Coffee House; DOCO Sheltered Work Shop (twice); and Church of God Holiness.
A search warrant was served on a residence in Ava where additional evidence was seized.
As a result of the investigation, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office was able to return property to several of the victims in this case. Unfortunately, cash and change was the majority of what was stolen and very little of that was recovered.
Also, Sheriff Degase and Sgt. Johnson obtained information that solved four burglaries in Ozark County, to include the Country Club, Turkey Creek Ranch, Lutie School and Methodist Church in Ozark County.
Sheriff Degase said this solved the majority of the burglaries that were occurring in and around the Ava city limits. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office was assisted in the investigation by Chief Reggie Johnson and the Ava Police Department.
Pickel is currently being held in the Douglas County Jail on a $15,000 bond.
Since the first of June the  Douglas County Sheriff’s Office has recovered nearly $50,000 in stolen property including three 4-wheelers and approximately 20 guns that had been stolen.
Stolen items were recovered not only in Douglas County but also in five different counties as well as the states of Texas and Arkansas.
Sheriff Degase commends the long hours put in by his deputies working these cases.