A thief attempts to load a small dirt bike into his vehicle as captured on a security camera.

Burglary Suspect Arrested Following Police Pursuit (video/photos)

A posted video clip leads to the arrest of a suspect.
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A burglary suspect was apprehended in rural Prophetstown on Thursday morning at approximately 8:10AM according to a news release from Whiteside County Sheriff John Booker.

The arrest was the result of an incident that occurred around 3:15AM Tuesday, December 5th when a break-in to a building owned by Josh Hovey of Prophetstown near Washington and Lomax Roads was observed and interrupted on a security camera.

Hovey said he was alerted via his phone of motion on the property and observed a person kicking in a door to a building. The intruder can then be seen on the video attempting to load a small dirt bike taken from the building into a vehicle. “I was sitting there watching the whole thing,” said Hovey. “I realized I could yell at them (via the security system) and it all worked out”. The person can be seen dropping the bike and fleeing in his vehicle.

Hovey called the Whiteside County Sheriff’s Office to report the incident adding that he had never had any problems on the property in the past. “I called my neighbor to tell them what had a happened and they could see the vehicle on their security system as well.” Another neighbor posted a clip of Hovey’s video to Facebook, which was the key to getting a break in the case.

A smashed fence and broken tree limbs mark the spot where the burglary suspect’s vehicle entered a pine grove off of Perkins Road.

On Thursday morning, a tip was received by the Sheriff’s Department that the vehicle seen on the posted video was driving near Howard and Spring Hill Roads (Portland). A Sheriff’s Deputy in the area saw the vehicle and attempted to conduct a traffic stop. The Sheriff’s release said, “The vehicle fled the area driving on and off the road. Deputies lost sight of the vehicle for a few minutes before locating it again on Yeager Road South of Star Road East of Prophetstown”. According to Prophetstown Police Chief, Bruce Franks, who responded to the incident, the vehicle, being followed by a deputy, crossed several farm fields before driving into a grove of pine trees near the intersection of Perkins and Star Roads. The suspect’s vehicle, a Black Jeep Grand Cherokee, was located in the timber unoccupied.

Jacob Owen Austin

The Sheriff’s release goes on to say, “The department’s K9 Unit, already on scene, immediately began tracking the suspect through the trees for approximately a quarter mile. Deputies utilized thermal imaging to check the tree line and observed a heat signature believed to be the suspect. The K9 Unit and multiple law enforcement personnel approached the suspect, who was apprehended.”

Jacob Austinage 36, of Davenport, Iowa, was taken into custody without further issues and was transported to the Whiteside County Jail, where he was charged with Burglary and traffic offenses.

Hovey said the resolution of the incident was a testament to living in a small community. “The community comes together and they don’t like it (crime). Without them being involved I doubt the guy would have been caught.”

Hovey touted the importance of having video surveillance in remote areas. “The cameras are an insurance policy, and they worked perfectly”.

The Sheriff’s Office was assisted during the incident by the Illinois State Police, Prophetstown Police Department, Erie Police Department, and Todd’s Towing. 

Security camera video of the break-in.

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