BLOOMFIELD - Due to the quick thinking of two Stoddard County residents and a deputy being in the right place at the right time, three men are behind bars for mailbox vandalism.
According to the Stoddard County Sheriff's Department, Josh Battles, 22, of Dexter, Heath Hayes, 22, of Dudley and John Hayes, 21, of Poplar Bluff were arrested Tuesday and charged with a class D felony of first degree property damage.
"This has been an ongoing problem that the residents of Stoddard County have suffered for many years," Stoddard County Sheriff Steve Fish said. "Without a suspect person or vehicle, it is nearly impossible for deputies to solve these types of cases.
On Monday evening, one of the victims said he heard his mailbox get hit. When he ran outside, he then heard his neighbor's mailbox also being hit. The victim said he got in his vehicle to get a description of the suspect vehicle and then returned home to call the sheriff's office with the description and direction of travel.
Fish said a few minutes later, another resident three miles away called to report her mailbox had just been hit and her neighbor was trying to catch up to the suspect vehicle. The second victim also provided the sheriff's department with a direction of travel.
The sheriff said the information was relayed to a Stoddard County deputy who in a short time had stopped the suspect vehicle. He said the men were arrested after the weapon suspected of being used to hit the mailboxes was located in the back seat of the vehicle. Each suspect is being held in the Stoddard County Jail on $5,000 cash bond.
The sheriff's department also reported three arrests for class D felony endangering the welfare of a child. Tonya Bynum, 27, and Carla R. Pyles, both of Dexter and Cynthia K. Henderson, 30, of Bernie are in custody in the Stoddard County Jail. Their cash bond is set at $7,500 each.