Man charged with burglary, theft, illegal drug and firearm possession
A Hardenville man who was arrested July 20 for allegedly burglarizing a Gainesville home and stealing items worth approximately $1,500, recently added possession of methamphetamine to his list of alleged offenses after Ozark County Sheriff’s Department employees found two bags of a white crystalline substance in his sock while booking him into the jail. The defendant reportedly told officers he forgot that he had stashed the baggies, which he identified as containing methamphetamine, according to court documents, in his sock when he was brought to the jail.
Jeremiah Kowerduck, 30, is charged with burglary, stealing, unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a controlled substance in connection with the incident. Kowerduck was arraigned before Associate Circuit Judge Cynthia MacPherson July 20. He is scheduled to return to court for a criminal setting Aug. 14.
According to the probable cause statement prepared by Ozark County Cpl. Curtis Dobbs, a resident referred to as “Confidential Victim” in the charging documents reported a robbery on Airstrip Lane in Gainesville on July 10. The victim told officers the missing items included 40 to 50 silver bars, a silver pocket watch, miscellaneous silver coins, a gold-plated silver Eagle coin and a .22 caliber Ruger revolver. The victim estimated the value of the missing items between $1,200 and $1,500.
Coins buried at the lake, sold to pawn shop and traded for drugs
During the course of the investigation, Dobbs discovered that Kowerduck was present at the house during the general timeframe when the crime was committed and had an opportunity to commit the burglary and theft, the statement says.
An informant, who is not identified in the court documents, connected with Dobbs and Chief Deputy Winston Collins on July 18. The informant reportedly told the officers that some of the stolen coins were hidden in a dead tree on the bluffs along on the edge of Norfork Lake at Tecumseh Bridge. The witness also said some coins and silver bars were at a residence on Highway 160, where they had been traded for illicit drugs, the statement says.
The informant said Kowerduck and another man had traveled to Mountain Home, Arkansas, to sell some of the other coins.
Dobbs and Collins followed the informant’s directions to the spot at Tecumseh and found a paper coin holder near a dead tree branch, which led them to uncover several other coins buried in the soil along the bluffs nearby. The officers then contacted the Baxter County criminal investigations division in Mountain Home, Arkansas, and asked the officers there to contact pawn shops in the area to see if the stolen coins had been sold or pawned. A Baxter County, Arkansas, investigator called the Ozark County officers shortly afterward and said it had been learned that Kowerduck and Chambers allegedly sold coins to Keith’s Coin Shop in Mountain Home on July 18.
Dobbs traveled to the house on Highway 160 with Collins, Ozark County Sgt. Vesa Phelan and “other personnel,” the statement says, and made contact with the homeowners on Highway 160 named by the informant. Several people were reportedly at the home when the officers arrived. The deputies secured all of the individuals and escorted them into the living room upon arrival to ensure evidence was not tampered with or destroyed. The owner of the home gave officers consent to search the house for the stolen items, the statement says, and a backpack belonging to Kowerduck was found in a back bedroom. Inside the bag, officers found a coin matching the description of one that was reported missing. A silver bar was also found at the house in another bedroom. The woman who had been occupying that bedroom reportedly told officers she received the silver bar from an individual who had watched Kowerduck bury it in the woods behind the home.
Drugs found during booking
Kowerduck was placed under arrest at the house and transported to the Ozark County Sheriff’s Office, where he was booked into the jail. During the booking process in a small secure changing room at the jail, officers found the two small baggies containing a white crystal substance in Kowerduck’s sock.
After being read his Miranda rights, Kowerduck agreed to speak with officers. He told them the crystal substance in the baggies was meth that he had purchased and forgotten about.
Kowerduck then told the officers he and a female companion spent the night at the victim’s residence and the next morning the victim told the pair that they needed to leave. Kowerduck said he and the woman began arguing, and the victim’s son offered to give the woman a ride but refused to let Kowerduck go with him.
Kowerduck said it made him angry to be denied a ride from the victim’s son, so he walked back to the victim’s residence later, pried open a door with a knife and entered the home. Kowerduck said he took the victim’s silver coin collection, silver bars, an army-green ammo container and a Ruger .22 caliber revolver in a black case and then left on foot.
Kowerduck said he and another person drove to Mountain Home to take several of the coins to a pawn shop known as “Big Steve’s.” Kowerduck said the other person went into the store and sold the coins to the broker for approximately $160 in cash. Officers showed Kowerduck a separate, July 18 video recording taken at Keith’s Coin Shop. The video shows two men driving up to the store in a red extended-cab Nissan truck then entering and exiting the store. After watching the video, Kowerduck reportedly told the officers that it was him and Chambers in the video, entering the store. He said the two men sold the stolen coins at that store for $385, the statement says.
Dobbs asked Kowerduck where the green ammo box was, and he allegedly said it was buried under some leaves near a fence at a trailer park. When asked where the revolver was, Kowerduck reportedly said he’d traded the gun for illegal drugs at a house near the recycling center. Officers found a firearm and black case matching the description of the one stolen at the residence identified by Kowerduck. The “confidential victim” positively identified the case as the one stolen.
Range of punishment
If convicted, Kowerduck can face up to four years in prison for each of the class D felonies filed against him. The charging document in this case says Kowerduck is charged as a prior offender under Missouri Revised statute 558.016 because he pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary on June 9, 2010, in Ozark County. According to the Missouri Sentencing Advisory Committee, prior offender status is an aggravating factor in sentencing, but it does not carry an enhanced sentence like a designated persistent offender status does.