Father, son bring thieves to their knees

A group of would-be burglars went from emboldened to blubbering in the span of a skipped heartbeat when their coveting eyes switched focus from a homeowners’ stuff to the barrel of his gun Friday afternoon at a farmhouse near Verdon.

Richardson County Sheriff Randy Houser Friday at 1:22 p.m. responded to a 911 call where there was an open line but no response, aside from a steady chorus of sobbing. It was 20 minutes or so after Sheriff’s Investigator Roland Merwin had been dispatched to 64671 713 Road near Verdon to a report of burglary at the property of Phillip Doerr.

It was quickly determined that Houser and Merwin were traveling to the same destination. And when they arrived, they found their work was largely done. Three subjects — 29-year-old Brandon Kopf, Diedra Kirkendall, 26, and Amber Barr, 30 — were prone on the ground, held at gunpoint by Doerr, crying out loud and over the airwaves.

According to an arrest affidavit filed in County Court Monday, Phillip Doerr returned to his residence at about 12:45 p.m. to discover an entry door had been forced open and inside several possessions missing, inlcluding a flat-screen television.

After calling 911 to report the burglary, Doerr was behind his dwelling and waiting for the authorities when he heard a car slowly drive up the road, past his “No Trespassing” sign, up the lengthy driveway and behind the house, stopping abruptly at the sight of Doerr. After a short verbal confrontation, Barr backed the vehicle away from Doerr and into a “T” post that impaled the rear bumper and truck, immobilizing the car. Doerr then contacted his father, Dr. David Doerr, who was less than two miles away, and feigned cooperation with the accused bandits, expressing his will to help them free the vehicle. At that time, Kopf, who has a suspended driver’s license, got behind the wheel and tried to drive the vehicle free from the post.

When Dr. Doerr arrived, Phillip Doerr retrieved a pistol from his vehicle and the father-son team forcibly removed the alleged thieves from the car, breaking out the vehicle’s side windows when Barr and Kirkendall initially refused to comply.

After Houser and Merwin arrested the subjects for second degree trespassing, a handcuffed Kopf through tears pleaded with Houser not to arrest him and offered to tell  the sheriff “who had burglarized Doerr’s residence, and said he could take me to where the items stolen in that burglary were being kept,” according to the arrest affidavit.

“This clearly indicated that Kopf knew prior to coming to Doerr’s property that a burglary had already occurred there.”

During the inventory search of the car, two pairs of bolt cutters, frequently used by thieves to cut locks, chains and cables, were discovered in the trunk.

Kopf, who has previous felony conviction for theft and is currently being processed for probation violations in Kansas, was charged with possession of burglar’s tools, a Class IV Felony, operating a vehicle during time of suspension, and criminal trespass. Barr and Kopf, who are known to be in a long-term relationship, appeared in Brown County (KS) Court last spring and were charged with burglary and misdemeanor theft in connection with a burglary in rural Powhattan. Taken during the break-in were gasoline, a gas power washer, gift towels and a purse.

Barr and Kirkendall Friday were each charged with possession of a burglar’s tools and criminal trespass. All three subjects remained in Richardson County Jail Monday.

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