On Friday, Aug. 16, Hesston Police apprehended Brandon Vanness at 9:40 a.m. at College Street and Randall. Vanness has allegedly been involved in a string of crimes around Harvey and Sedgwick Counties.
Vanness and Michael Kenort, both of Wichita, are suspects in up to four burglaries from cars in Halstead on July 21. One of the vehicles had $300 in cash, glasses, a purse and debit cards stolen. The debit cards were later used at a Newton convenience store and at Sam's Club in Wichita.
Kenort was arrested on July 31.
The two men are facing charges of Burglary, theft, and fraud using an electronic devise or financial card from Halstead, according to Halstead Police Chief Steve Lewis.
Vanness has additional warrants from other counties including McPherson and Sedgwick, according to Halstead Police Chief Steve Lewis and Sheriff T. Walton.
He is also the suspect in an alleged car burglary in Sedgwick, according to T. Walton. "This was a good catch by Officer Carter," said Walton.
According to Hesston Police Chief Doug Schroeder, who was also one of the arresting officers, Vanness has had several arrests and convictions.
“It is mostly property crimes,” said Schroeder.
Vanness made his way to Hesston in a stolen vehicle and ran out of fuel west of town. He then walked to Casey’s General Store on Old 81 seeking assistance.
“Casey’s called the police department because we administer a fund to help transients. He learned that the police were coming and he abruptly left the store. We found him walking about 20 minutes later at Randall Street and College Street,” said Schroeder.
Schroeder and Carter approached Vanness, who was uncooperative.
“He represented himself as someone else and provided false identification,” said Schroeder.
Police instructed Vanness he would be taken into custody. Vanness attempted to flee from the officers but was immediately apprehended.
“He was told he was under arrest and immediately started running to the north. He was apprehended in about 30 feet and placed under arrest,” said Schroeder.
Following his arrest, Vanness’ identity, and criminal history, was discovered.
“Hesston EMS was summoned to treat the individual for minor injuries he sustained due to fleeing. He was then identified as Brandon Vanness and had existing felony arrest warrants for burglary, theft and criminal use of a financial card. It was also learned that Vanness had run out of gas in a vehicle just west of Hesston and that the vehicle was likely stolen,” said Schroeder.
Schroeder then contacted state police officials to find the vehicle.
“The Highway Patrol and Sheriff’s office assisted us by locating a silver GMC pickup a few miles west of town. The vehicle had been stolen from the Wichita area approximately two weeks ago,” said Schroeder.
According to Schroeder it was likely the vehicle was stolen by Vanness shortly after his release from the Kansas Department of Corrections.
“The time frame would suggest the stole the truck shortly after being released from the Kansas Department of Corrections (prison). More than just ignorance, I would suggest he was very desperate and desperate people can be dangerous,” said Schroeder.
Vanness will face a number of charges related to his recent arrest.
“He was a charged with felony theft (possession of stolen vehicle) felony escape from custody, felony obstruction of justice and criminal trespassing. Some items from the stolen vehicle are still being investigated as being property from other area crimes,” said Schroeder.
Schroeder said residents were not in immediate danger from Vanness.
“He was not a threat to anyone’s safety, but while we were dealing with him he was called into our office for because he had entered an outbuilding looking to steal gas - thus the criminal trespass charge,” he said.
Schroeder encouraged residents to continue to be aware of their community and surroundings.
“We certainly aren’t immune to victimization. I continue to urge residents to call 911 if they see something that doesn’t look or feel right to them so that the police department can investigate. In this way, we can ensure our community is as safe as it could possibly be.”