What started out as a typical Tuesday morning in Beloit quickly turned into a busy day for local law enforcement when a pair of pick-ups were stolen in the city. At about 9:45 a.m on Tuesday, a white 2002 Ford F-150, owned by Ron Marozas, was stolen while parked at Pump Mart in Beloit.
During the noon hour, as police followed leads in search of the missing vehicle, a 2012 GMC Canyon pick-up was reported stolen in Beloit as well. The GMC, owned by Jay Rowh, had been taken from the driveway of his residence at 1302 N. Lincoln sometime between 9:40 a.m. and noon. After which it was noticed to be missing and reported. Things then moved fairly quickly over the next two hours following the report of the second stolen vehicle.
Although the specific timeline is unclear, by around 2 p.m. a suspect was in custody and the first vehicle was recovered. Charles Cooprider, age 19 of Hutchinson, had been arrested as the suspected thief of both vehicles. The first stolen pick-up was located in a shed owned by Joe Schmidt near the Rowh residence.
Cooprider was picked-up by a local resident near the bridge west of Solomon Valley Veterinary Hospital on W. Main Street extending from Beloit. Cooprider is reported to have come-up out of the area near the bridge, to the roadway, and was seeking a ride back into town. The resident, a friend of Rowh’s, was suspicious of the individual and proceeded to communicate with and deliver Cooprider to police in some manner.
The recovered Ford F-150 was damaged to an unknown extent. It is believed Cooprider put the pick-up in the shed and left on-foot before he came upon Rowh’s pick-up nearby and stole it. The GMC was discovered later in the afternoon in a corn field near Glen Elder by an aircraft assisting in the search.
Rowh told KD-Country 94 and Z-96.3 News that his pick-up suffered minor overall damage to the front end. He said it appears to have hit a washout, terrace or berm of some kind in the cornfield where it was abandoned, but it is driveable.
Also in the afternoon hours, 30 year old Jill Schmidt of Hutchinson was arrested in connection with the incident as well. Schmidt, a former Beloit resident, is being held pending yet unknown charges for her involvement in the crimes. Schmidt was identified by witnesses at the scene of the Pump Mart theft as having been driving a car from which Cooprider exited prior to stealing the pickup owned by Marozas.
Cooprider is being held pending charges as the suspect in the actual theft of both vehicles. He was also discovered to have multiple warrants out for his arrest. Including one for a parole violation out of McPherson County.
The Beloit Police Department was assisted in the investigation by the Mitchell County Sheriff’s Department and the Kansas Highway Patrol.