Alert salesman aids quick arrests for burglaries

Less than 20 hours after it received the first of numerous burglary reports, Vandalia Police arrested two individuals believed to be responsible for those thefts.
Vandalia Police Chief Jeff Ray said that those arrests were possible because of an alert salesman at a store where there was an attempt to use a stolen credit card.
On Monday, Gordon A. Michaelson, 37, of Rosco, and Scott A. Kilgore, 45, of Matteson, were charged with a Class 3 felony charge of theft of more than $500. Kilgore was also charged with possession of a fraudulent ID card, a Class 4 felony.
Ray said that his department received its first burglary report at 5 a.m., and continued to get other such reports throughout the day.
He said that Kilgore was taken into custody at 9:23 p.m. on Sunday, through a vehicle stop on Kennedy Boulevard, and that Michaelson was arrested a short time later at a local hotel.
Ray said that the VPD took reports of theft from P&G Machine Shop on Illini Avenue, A to Z Automotive on Janett Avenue, a garage in the 300 block of South Second Street and a vehicle parked at First and Edwards streets.
“The major thing that was taken was electronics – laptops, tablets, etc., and tools,” Ray said, adding that the perpetrators attempted to get into safe and also took money from a Lions candy sales box.
He said that credit cards were stolen from the vehicle parked at Randolph House, and that the owner of the cards was receiving email notifications of the cards being used.
The cards were reportedly used at Walmart stores in Vandalia and Salem, a McDonald’s and a shoe store in Salem.
At that shoe store, Ray said, a stolen cards wasn’t authorized for use and a salesman thought that the person using the card was acting suspiciously. Because of that, the salesman wrote down the license plate of the vehicle the person was driving.
“That was very heads up,” Ray said of the salesman’s actions. “There are a lot of times where we have someone on a surveillance camera, but nobody knows who they are and we have no way to look for them.
“It makes our job a lot more difficult if he doesn’t get the license plate information,” Ray said.
That information was passed onto police, and an officer found the vehicle bearing that license plate, with Kilgore driving, shortly before 9:30 p.m., Ray said.
Police learned that Kilgore was staying at a local hotel, and as they searched a van at that hotel, they found Michaelson.
Bond for both Kilgore and Michaelson has been set at $100,000.

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