A possible burglary in process sent Indiana State Police Trooper Joseph May to 5675 W. County Road 1050 S. in Ripley County just east of Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge between New Marion and Belleview Aug. 28.

“The caller, Robin Turner, had advised that a red pickup was backed up to the residence, and that no one was supposed to be there,” according to identical probable cause affidavits filed in Ripley Circuit Court Aug. 29.

Rebecca Mitchell, 47, Madison, exited the front door as the trooper pulled up and approached him. She explained “that this was her friend Robin’s house and she was there to get some of Robin’s property to take to her.” May noticed the woman “appeared to be very nervous. She was trembling, speaking fast and avoiding eye contact.”

Mitchell pointed to a broken out window on the home’s east side and observed somebody had shattered it. At first the woman said the owners, Turner and Michael Gay, were inside, then admitted only her husband, Anthony Mitchell, 40, Madison, was.

The trooper commanded her to wait by the truck while he called for her husband through the open front door.

Then Trooper Jordan Craig arrived. He approached Rebecca Mitchell “and quickly observed a metal smoking pipe containing burnt residue (which he believed to have been used to smoke marijuana) laying on the ground by the Toyota,” and suspected it had been discarded by the woman.

The troopers placed the couple in double-locked handcuffs for safety and May conducted a safety sweep of the residence. After reading Anthony Mitchell Miranda and Pirtle warnings, May received consent to search his person for contraband.

The court document stated, “Inside the pockets of Anthony’s wallet I found a piece of folded cellophane wrapper that contained what I believed to be a partially-burnt marijuana cigarette. l also found a corner piece of a plastic bag that contained a white substance that l believed to be methamphetamine” and the man admitted it was.

Rebecca Mitchell was in possession of a glass smoking pipe containing burnt residue, believed to be used to smoke marijuana; a plastic container containing an orange pill fragment suspected to contain Buprenorphine, a controlled substance; and some jewelry.

May told the man it appeared that he and his wife had broken in “and he nodded his head, but then denied that they had done so.” The garage’s side door had also been forced open and the glass broken out of it. There was a large piece of wood leaning on the house by the broken window that was believed to have been used to force entry. The pickup’s bed was also full of miscellaneous tools, the affidavit noted.

Turner, who had called the police after a neighbor informed her about the truck in the driveway, arrived. She “stated that she had lived at this residence with her boyfriend, Michael Gay,” who was currently in jail, and that she had been staying in Madison.

Turner reported that she had not given anyone permission to enter the residence, including the Mitchells, and advised she was the only one with a house key. The owner had checked on the home around 5 p.m. the previous day and it was secure.

Craig spoke with Gay by telephone and he corroborated Turner’s statement. Both said they wanted to press charges.

Turner identified the jewelry that Rebecca Mitchell had on her as coming from the house and many of the tools in the truck bed as coming from the garage.

When Craig conducted an audio/video recorded interview with the Mitchells, they admitted entering the residence without permission and taking jewelry, marijuana pipes and tools.

May wrote in the court document, “Inside the house by the front door l saw items from the residence that were packed up and looked as if they were ready to be carried out. Robin told me that it looked as if Rebecca and Anthony were getting ready to steal these items as well.”

Turner estimated that the stolen items and those about to be before the burglary was interrupted were valued at between $500 and $600.

Anthony Mitchell was charged with six counts: conspiracy to commit burglary and burglary, Level 4 felonies; possession of methamphetamine – prior, a Level 5 felony; possession of methamphetamine, a Level 6 felony; theft, a Class A misdemeanor; and possession of marijuana, a Class B misdemeanor.

Information also was provided to the judge about Mitchell being a habitual offender. He was convicted of dealing in a narcotic drug, a Class B felony, in Jefferson Circuit Court March 6, 2008; and convicted of meth possession, a Level 6 felony, in Clark Circuit Court No. 2 June 5, 2018.

Rebecca Mitchell was charged with five counts, some at the same levels as her husband: conspiracy to commit burglary and burglary; theft; possession of a controlled substance, a Class A misdemeanor; and possession of paraphernalia, a Class C misdemeanor.

An initial hearing was held for each Sept. 4 by Ripley Circuit Court Judge Ryan King, according to https://public.courts.in.gov/mycase, the Odyssey case management system used by Indiana courts.

King set Anthony Mitchell’s bond at $15,055 cash and Rebecca Mitchell’s bond at $6,555. Both were ordered by the judge to have no contact with Turner and Gay.

He scheduled Anthony Mitchell’s pretrial conference Jan. 2, 2020, at 1:30 p.m. and a jury trial starting Feb. 22, 2020, at 9 a.m. He appointed Mark Jones, Batesville, as indigent counsel at county expense.

The judge set Rebecca Mitchell’s pretrial conference Dec. 16 at 2:30 p.m. and a jury trial starting Jan. 28, 2020, at 9 a.m. King appointed John Kellerman, Batesville, as indigent counsel.

Both Mitchells were still incarcerated at the Ripley County Jail, Versailles, Sept. 8, a jail officer reported.

Debbie Blank can be contacted at debbie.blank@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-717-3113.