SIDNEY — A South Dakota man has been charged after he stole a vehicle from an unlikely victim - the county attorney of a western Nebraska community. Thomas Steele-Richards, 21, has been charged with theft, a Class IIA felony.

According to an arrest affidavit filed in Cheyenne County, Sidney police were advised on the morning of June 3 that a 2018 Toyota Tacoma had been stolen from the parking lot of a Sidney fueling station and its owner had last seen the vehicle as the suspect traveled south on Highway 19. The owner of the vehicle was Cheyenne County Attorney Paul Schaub, of Sidney.

Schaub told police he had entered the Post Fueling station to purchase some items. While he was making his purchases, he said he observed a man pass the front window of the store and as Schaub went to exit the store, he observed a man, described as wearing a dark-colored bandanna, inside his vehicle. The man drove away in the vehicle, driving toward Peetz, Colorado.

Police observed video surveillance from the station and were able to observe the driver of another vehicle, a red Chevrolet Impala, pull into the lot, and then the driver of the Toyota Tacoma followed the Impala.

Law enforcement agencies in Nebraska and Wyoming were notified of the theft of the vehicle. Hours later, a Nebraska State Patrol trooper located the vehicle in Banner County on Highway 71 and the car was impounded. Troopers also interviewed a farmer who had advised that he had observed two Native American males walkign about a half-mile north of the vehicle on Highway 71 and he transported the men to Gering.

Troopers contacted Police, who located the men in Scotts Bluff County and they were arrested. Steele-Richards was charged, with the officer citing clothing that the man wore matching the description of the theft suspect.

Steele-Richards is currently being held in the Scotts Bluff County Detention Center on a $75,000 bond.

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