Caulfield burglar allegedly flees from West Plains officers, steals MSHP van

Joseph Lee Beard

Joseph Lee Beard, 36, of Caulfield, is being held in the Howell County Jail in West Plains on a $100,000 cash-only bond in connection with a Sept. 18 incident in which he’s alleged to have broken into several residences, stolen a Missouri State Highway Patrol van and then fled from officers. 

According to a statement from the West Plains Police Department, officers were dispatched to Second Street in West Plains at 10:09 a.m. Friday, Sept. 18, after residents reported seeing a man peeking in home windows, walking around on residents’ porches and peering inside their vehicles. 

When officers arrived on scene, Beard was reportedly inside a home he’d broken into on First Street. When he saw the officers, he fled out the back door of the residence and ran toward Broadway Street, the statement said. 

Officers searched the area for the suspect and spotted him running across Broadway Street toward Halstead Street. As an officer chased Beard on foot, the suspect fled into the back parking lot of the National Guard Armory, where he reportedly stole a white van owned by the MSHP. He sped out of the parking lot and continued up Halstead Street, turning west on Webster Avenue. 

He ditched the van on Webster Avenue and broke into another home, the press release says. He ran out the back of the home and into a wooded area near Webster and Broadway. He apparently retrieved a bike from a residence in the area and was seen bicycling down Broad-way Avenue. Officers were able to apprehend Beard on the bicycle and place him in handcuffs. 

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423