Two jailed for burglaries to vehicles on North Melvin Street in Gibson City

GIBSON CITY — Two Gibson City residents remained Monday in the county jail on felony charges stemming from a series of burglaries to vehicles on the city’s north side.

Kaitlyn M. Darnell, 20, and Justin A. Jesse, 24, who each listed an address at 615 E. 5th St., are charged in Ford County Circuit Court with four counts of burglary, a Class 2 felony, for allegedly entering four vehicles in a two-block area of North Melvin Street last month.

Bond was set at $24,000, meaning each would need to pay $2,400 to be released from the jail in Paxton.

Jesse is due in Judge Matt Fitton’s courtroom for a preliminary hearing at 2:30 p.m. March 4, while Darnell has waived her right to a preliminary hearing. It was not immediately clear when the next court date is for Darnell, who is represented by Paxton attorney Lance Cagle.

According to charging documents filed in court by State’s Attorney Andrew Killian, the two allegedly entered four unlocked vehicles on Jan. 21 with the intent to commit theft:

— A 2016 Chevrolet sport-utility vehicle owned by Teresa Eichelberger that was parked at 919 N. Melvin St.

— A 2013 Chevrolet sedan owned by Austin Eichelberger that was parked at 919 N. Melvin St.

— A 2011 Hyundai car owned by Austin Eichelberger that was parked at 919 N. Melvin St.

— And a 1999 GMC pickup truck owned by David Benningfield that was parked at 1011 N. Melvin St.

Gibson City Police Chief Adam Rosendahl said roughly $30 to $40 in cash and change was stolen, along with a GPS, DVD player, gift cards and an iPhone.

Jesse turned himself in to Gibson City police on Feb. 6, while Darnell was arrested by the Ford County Sheriff’s Office, Rosendahl said.

“Within 30 minutes of the call, we knew the two who were involved with it,” Rosendahl said.

Rosendahl noted that this was “the first time in years” that the city has had “multiple car burglaries on the same night.” Rosendahl said he wanted to recognize Sgt. Kaleb Kraft for his “diligent work on not just this case but all of our investigations.”

“Our ‘serious crime’ rates were lower in 2018 than they have been in the 13 years since I’ve been here, and I’d like to credit my officers for that,” Rosendahl said.


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