On Oct. 7, Penntown Storage owner Tim Seevers reported a break-in to the Ripley County Sheriff’s Office. Cpl. Rob Bradley went to investigate and wrote in a probable cause affidavit filed in Ripley Circuit Court Oct. 15, “Tim showed me the fence had been cut and a lock had been removed from storage unit No. G43.”
The court document noted, “Security footage recorded the event taking place on Oct. 2 at 4:51 a.m. In the footage you see a light-colored four-door sedan car pull up and tum its lights off. The male subject cuts through the west fence and enters the facility.” The man pried and beat on the unit’s locking mechanism. Seevers later found the destroyed lock on the ground.
The video showed the suspect was a white male with glasses and facial hair extending multiple inches from his chin. He was wearing a dark hoodie, orange shirt, dark pants and light-colored shoes. The male was carrying a red bag and a tool of some kind resembling bolt cutters.
Sunman Town Marshal Jason Hoffman phoned Bradley and reported he saw images of the suspect on the security footage. The marshal, who had previous contact with the man, identified him as Craig Bays, 49, Sunman, and said he frequently drove a silver Chevrolet Impala.
In the affidavit, the corporal stated, “On Oct. 8, Craig Bays reported to probation officer Bill Belew that he drives a silver 2017 Impala registered to his mother. Further he told his probation officer that he works for Door Dash, a home food delivery service. I learned that Door Dash ... uses an insulated red bag for their service that is similar in description and design to the red bag seen in the security footage ...”
The next day Bradley obtained a search warrant for the residence and outbuilding located at 328 S. Meridian St., Lot No. 40, and the Impala driven by Bays.
On Oct. 10, Bradley; Hoffman; Indiana State Police Sgt. Steve Weigel, an evidence technician; and Dearborn County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Wallace Lewis, a crime scene investigator, executed the search warrant. The car search revealed a plastic baggy containing a green plant material and red-handled bolt cutters in the center console, which were seized for evidence. A shotgun also was taken by police at the request of the probation officer, the court document said.
An orange shirt, two pair of shoes, a gray jacket and two cellphones were seized from the residence.
Bays was charged with burglary, a Level 5 felony; and criminal mischief and marijuana possession, Class B misdemeanors, according to another document filed in the court Oct. 15.
Judge Ryan King conducted an initial hearing Oct. 16, according to https://public.courts.in.gov/mycase, the Odyssey case management system used by Indiana courts.
Although no bond was set, Bays was still incarcerated in the Ripley County Jail, Versailles, Oct. 18, noted that day’s Ripley County Sheriff’s Office Current Inmate Information Summary. John Dorenbusch, Batesville, is his attorney.
The judge scheduled a jury trial for Feb. 27, 2020, at 9 a.m. after a Jan. 16 pretrial conference at 1:30 p.m.