Lieutenant Governor Kinder's Car is Stolen and Burned to the Ground
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Lieutenant Governor Kinder's Car is Stolen and Burned to the Ground

Date: April 26, 2011
By: Elizabeth Hagedorn
State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Police have arrested one of the men responsible for the theft of the lieutenant governor's car Monday.

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder was speaking at a naturalization ceremony in his hometown of Cape Girardeau when he left the keys in his car. 

Cape Girardeau police said two men drove the car to a local gun store, Shooter's Gun Shop, and attempted to break in by ramming it into the entrance.

According to a police report, after the car had become stuck in the mud, the suspects set fire to it on the side of a county road.

Police have identified the two men as Adam D. Cromer, 21, and Jacob Shepard, 19, both of Cape Girardeau. Police took Cromer into custody early Monday morning, but are still looking for Shepard. Both men will be charged with stealing of a motor vehicle, tampering and attempted burglary.

According to a statement filed by Cape Girardeau police, Cromer admitted that he was responsible for stealing the car and that it was his intention to "Rob Shooters." 

Shooter's Gun Shop owner, David Lange, said Kinder came to the store the next day to talk with store management.

"We were told what happened from Peter Kinder himself. We know him. He happens to be a customer of the store," Lange said.

Lange said he estimates the cost of the repairs for the interior of his shop will be several thousand dollars. He said after performing an inventory, he found nothing to be missing from the store.

The car, a 2009 Ford Flex, was registered to the "Friends of Peter Kinder."

According to Jared Craighead, the Kinder campaign's compliance officer, the car was purchased in November 2009 for $26,800. Under Missouri law, campaign donations can be used for both campaign and official purposes.

Mike Right, AAA Missouri's vice president of public affairs, said there are "Serious legal consequences" in some jurisdictions for leaving keys in an unattended car.

In some counties, he said, there are city ordinances against leaving a car alone with the keys in it. He adds that car owners could also be exposed to some liability should their stolen cars be involved in a traffic accident or crime.

However under Cape Girardeau city ordinances, there is no fine for leaving keys in a car. 

The police said the investigation is ongoing.

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