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Bell charged with burglary after allegedly stealing power tools, dune buggy

A Richwoods man is charged with burglary after allegedly stealing power tools and a dune buggy from a property in Washington County over the weekend.

James John Bell, 48, of Richwoods, was charged this week with second-degree burglary, first-degree tampering with a motor vehicle, stealing, and driving while revoked/suspended.

According to a probable cause statement from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Bell entered a building on Autumn Road in Cadet on Saturday, where he stole multiple cordless power tools. The tools reportedly taken included a 20-volt spotlight, 20-volt area light, reciprocating saw, angle grinder, and six 20-volt batteries, valued at $400, according to the police.

The report alleges that Bell loaded the stolen items into a dune buggy on the property and stole the recreational vehicle, valued at $2,500, along with the tools. The man then reportedly left the area but was spotted a short time later, less than a mile from the residence.

Police said the owner of the stolen property was on his way home when he saw Bell driving his dune buggy on Old Prairie Road. The owner reportedly stopped Bell and noticed that the man not only had his dune buggy but also had his tools. The owner told Bell to stay in the buggy and called the police.

When law enforcement arrived, the report states they found tools commonly used to pick locks in Bell’s pockets. Police checked Bell’s record, which reportedly showed his driver’s license was revoked.

Bell was booked at the Washington County Jail, and his bond in the case was set at $25,000. If released on bail, the man is prohibited from having contact with the alleged victim and his property.

Bell was arraigned on the charges in court on Wednesday. The man is expected to apply for a public defender before a bond reduction hearing set for next week on Tuesday.

A search of Bell’s criminal history showed prior arrests for similar offenses, including stealing a motor vehicle, driving while revoked/suspended, and stealing.

James John Bell

James John Bell

Bobby Radford is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at

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