33-Year-Old Salem Man Arrested for Theft and Drugs

33-Year-Old Salem Man Arrested for Theft and Drugs

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Washington County Sheriff Brent Miller attributed the quick action of property owners who helped law enforcement officers locate and arrest a man who had broken into the couple’s barn.

As a result, Elijah S. Engleking, 33, South Hickory Avenue, was arrested on July 22, 2021, and has been charged with:

  • Dealing in methamphetamine, Level 2 felony
  • Dealing in heroin, Level 2 felony
  • Possession of methamphetamine, Level 3 felony
  • Possession of heroin, Level 3 felony
  • Burglary, Level 5 felony 
  • Carrying a handgun without a license (prior felony), Level 5 felony
  • Operating a vehicle as a habitual traffic violator, Level 6 felony
  • Theft, Level 6 felony (two counts)
  • Possession of paraphernalia, Class A misdemeanor

“The victims, in this case, caught the theft in progress and immediately contacted authorities.  In addition, they were able to collect critical information that led to the suspect’s arrest. Their efforts helped law enforcement and we appreciate it,” said Miller.

The incident began when Jamie and Marnie Bennett reported a theft from their Branaman Road property.

Marnie Bennett caught the theft in progress when she went to the couple’s barn around 7 a.m. July 22.

She called 911 to report a male subject driving away in a red Ford Ranger pickup after she confronted him. She was able to photograph the truck.

The Bennetts posted a photo of the truck and information about the theft on Facebook and the sheriff’s department began receiving tips.

One caller said the truck had been at the Salem Food Mart earlier.

An officer reviewed the store’s surveillance video and determined the driver, truck, and a load of scrap all matched the photos captured by Bennett.

“In this instance, the victims posted information on Facebook, which led to several tips coming in.  These actions also helped to find and secure the suspect,” said Miller. 

Officers received information that the Ford Ranger involved belonged to one of Engleking’s neighbors.

The woman told police that Engleking came over before daylight asking to borrow her truck, which she allowed him to do.

She said the bed of the truck was empty when Engleking took it.

The woman identified the truck from the surveillance video as hers and confirmed the man in the video was Engleking. 

A short while later, officers located Engleking on Hickory Avenue.

The truck had a different license plate and the bed appeared empty.

Both Engleking and a female passenger, Heidi Powers, were arrested.

Powers, 38, West Arrow Road, is charged with:

  • Possession of a syringe, Level 6 felony
  • Possession of methamphetamine, Level 3 felony
  • Possession of cocaine or a narcotic drug, Level 4 felony
  • Dealing in methamphetamine, Level 2 felony
  • Dealing in cocaine or a narcotic drug, Level 2 felony
  • Possession of paraphernalia, Class C misdemeanor

When officers patted Engleking down, they found a holster. He told officers he did not have a gun but just wears a holster sometimes.

Officers later located a Rock Island Armory 1911 .45 caliber pistol under the passenger seat of the truck.

Officers also found several catalytic converters in the truck; one marked “Subaru.”  

A search warrant was issued and during the search, officers located numerous items of drug paraphernalia, methamphetamine, heroin, and syringes, some of which were filled and uncapped.

When the truck was returned to its rightful owner, she identified several areas of damage, including scratches and dents from the scrap Engleking, had piled in the bed.

Engleking had an initial hearing on July 23, 2021.

He remains incarcerated at the Washington County Detention Center. 

A pre-trial hearing has been set for August 23, 2021, in the Washington County Superior Court.

All charges filed in this case are merely allegations and all suspects are considered innocent unless or until proven guilty in a court of law.