Squires woman, Ava man charged with car theft, pending charges for Spurlock’s Store burglary
Ann Santacroce, 31, of Squires, and Trevor Pippin, 27, of Ava, have each been charged with tampering with a motor vehicle in connection with the theft of a car from Stone County.
Santacroce was released Monday on medical bond, online court documents say. She was originally held on a $15,000 cash or 10 percent surety bond. She is ordered to have no contact with the victims in the case, Jennifer Lord or the Spurlocks family. She is also ordered to have no contact with Pippin.
Pippin is being held in the Douglas County Jail on a $25,000 cash-only bond. A bond-reduction hearing was scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday. Results of that hearing were not available at press time.
According to the probable cause statement prepared by Douglas County Sheriff Chris DeGase, the officer was notified by a dispatcher that a black 2010 Kia Forte had been stolen from Stone County and could possibly be in the Douglas County area. The dispatcher gave DeGase the vehicle’s VIN and license plate number.
The vehicle was reportedly being tracked by Charge-A-Car, a vehicle-financing company that puts GPS tracking devises on vehicles that have loans on them, the statement says.
When DeGase reached out to Charge-A-Car, a company representative told him the Kia’s GPS coordinates showed it was traveling southbound on C Highway in Douglas County, and later was in the area of Assumption Abbey, known locally as the monastery.
At 1:57 p.m., DeGase and Douglas County Deputy Jonathan Harley were patrolling on Douglas County Roads 14-335, a gravel road that runs from the end of OO Highway at the monastery to east Highway 14, when the officers met a vehicle matching the description of the stolen Kia.
DeGase and Harley initiated a traffic stop on County Road 335. Santacroce was driving the vehicle with Pippin as a passenger, the report says. Both subjects were arrested without incident. The vehicle’s VIN number and license plate matched that of the vehicle stolen in Stone County.
Inside the car, officers found an air compressor in the trunk, a camouflage purse, a pair of cowboy boots and a blue ice scraper.
DeGase sent photos of the items found in the car to Randy Spurlock, who owns the Spurlock’s Store building in Squires. The store had reported two burglaries in recent weeks, one on July 4 and another on July 11-12.
Spurlock told DeGase the red air compressor was his, and the purse belonged to his daughter.
Spurlock told DeGase the pair of cowboy boots had been left at the store after the July 4 burglary, when another pair of boots was stolen from the store. Spurlock estimated that items valued at $325 were stolen on July 4, and items valued at $340 were stolen July 11-12.
DeGase then texted the photos of the ice scraper and car to Jennifer Lord of Stone County. She reportedly told the officer the ice scraper and car were hers. Lord said she did not know either suspect.
Pippin’s interview with police
After being read his Miranda rights, Pippin told the officers he had borrowed the car from a man named Jason and a woman named Michelle. Pippin said he didn’t know either person’s last name, the report says. He insisted he’d picked up Santacroce, and she didn’t know anything about the vehicle except that he’d borrowed it from a friend, the statement said. Pippin repeated multiple times that if anyone should be charged with anything related to the car, it should be him and that Santacroce knew nothing it.
During transport to the jail, DeGase reportedly asked Pippin if he would pass a drug test, and Pippin reportedly told the officer he would not.
Santacroce’s interview with police
Santacroce told the officers Pippin picked her up at her dad’s house on N Highway in the Kia, and they went to Springfield and to her former house to pick up her belongings.
DeGase reportedly asked the woman about an air compressor that was found in the vehicle’s trunk, and Santacroce told DeGase that it was in the trunk when Pippin picked her up in the car. She said he’d picked her up the night before, July 19, in the black car.
DeGase then asked when she had started driving since Pippin had picked her up, and she told him she began driving around the time they reached the monastery road (Douglas County Road 335), because Pippin told her he was tired.
Santacroce reportedly told DeGase that the purse was hers and that she’d had it a long time. Sometime into the conversation, she changed her story and said she’d recently bought the purse for $5 within the last two to three months. She told DeGase to call her father to verify the story about the purse, DeGase wrote in the report.
The sheriff called Santacroce’s dad, who said he’d never seen her with a camouflage purse. He told the sheriff Pippin was not allowed at his house and his daughter wasn’t allowed at the house if Pippin was with her. Santacroce’s dad said Pippin had stolen several items from him in the past, and he had to go track down who Pippin sold the items to in order to get them back.