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Two from out-of-state charged with burglarizing home

Two Pennsylvania residents faced burglary charges last week in St. Francois County after allegedly breaking into an area home and stealing a firearm.

Robert Thomas, 42, of Scottdale, Pennsylvania, and Tiffany Phifer, 21, of Connellsville, Pennsylvania, have each been charged with first-degree burglary and second-degree property damage. Phifer is also charged with one felony count of stealing a firearm.

According to a probable cause statement from the St. Francois County Sheriff’s Department, a deputy was dispatched to a Lake Forest Drive address outside of Park Hills in reference to a reported burglary last Saturday.

The deputy arrived at the location and spoke to a man who explained that the homeowner was out of town and had called him to check on his residence.

The man told the deputy he saw a white pickup truck in the driveway and Thomas and Phifer outside the house when he arrived at the home.

The deputy questioned Thomas, who reportedly said he found a window had been broken out on the side of the house, and he had permission from the homeowner to be there.

Thomas then reportedly gave the deputy consent to search his truck.

During the vehicle search, the deputy reported finding $7,964 in cash in varying individual stacks located throughout the truck. The deputy also reportedly found a black plastic case containing a green leafy substance, drug paraphernalia, and a clear plastic bag with a white powdery substance inside. The items were collected as evidence to be tested at the Missouri State Highway Patrol Lab.

In the bed of the pickup truck, the deputy reportedly located a Remington 700 .280 caliber rifle inside a black gun case.

The deputy contacted the homeowner, who said he was out of state and did not give Thomas or Phifer permission to enter his house. He also confirmed to the deputy that he was the owner of a Remington 700 .280 caliber rifle, according to the report.

Thomas was read his Miranda Rights before telling the deputy that Phifer entered the residence through the broken window and that he gained entry into the house. The man again claimed that he and Phifer had permission to be at the address.

After hearing her Miranda Rights, Phifer reportedly said Thomas had her enter the house through the broken window and unlock the front door.

The woman reportedly said they located the rifle inside the home, and Thomas took possession of it. Additionally, Phifer allegedly told the deputy that she and Thomas had come to the house to obtain the firearm.

Thomas and Phifer were booked at the St. Francois County Jail and their bonds were set at $25,000 each. Both have since posted bond and were released. Bond conditions require the pair to comply with pretrial monitoring while the case is pending.

The two are due in court on Oct. 7 to be arraigned on the newly-filed charges.

Bobby Radford is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at bradford@dailyjournalonline.com

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