Police Arrest Three After Tractor Stolen, Two-Hour Standoff

By Mike Perleberg (Ripley County, Ind.) - It all started with a request for help to get a pickup truck unstuck. Three people are in the Ripley County Jail on preliminary theft and weapons charges. They are Christian Stewart, 21, of Madison; Kelsey C. Luellen, 22, also of Madison; and Cameron Stewart, 19, of Commiskey. A news release from the Ripley County Prosecutor’s Office states what Christian Stewart had come to a home in Cross Plains at around 10:54 a.m. Tuesday. He asked the residents for help getting a truck unstuck. “Witnesses at the residence believed Stewart to be impaired and observed that he was carrying a loaded handgun.  The witnesses then quickly called the police where Christian Stewart was arrested,” said Prosecutor Ric Hertel. Officers learned that the truck Stewart had been requesting help with was no longer there. They soon found out the nefarious means of freeing the stuck vehicle. “During the investigation, Sheriff’s deputies discovered that while Christian Stewart was asking for help, Kelsey Luellen and Cameron Stewart stole a neighbor’s tractor from his garage and other items belonging to the neighbor inside the neighbor’s home.  The two individuals had used the tractor to pull their stuck vehicle out,” Hertel explained. As deputies were investigating the tractor theft, they learned that Cameron Stewart was barricaded inside an abandoned home. They also learned he was armed with a loaded weapon. Officers surrounded that home and a two-hour standoff ensued. Eventually, Stewart attempted to flee from the residence. An Indiana State Police K9 unit helped apprehend him quickly. No officers were hurt during the standoff and pursuit. Stewart was taken to a hospital to be checked out briefly before he was taken to the county jail. “The arrests were a collaborative effort of his department working together with Indiana State Police officers and conservation officers. Deputies initially directly involved included Randy Holt, Corky Houseworth, and Rob Bradley,” said Ripley County Sheriff Jeff Cumberworth, also thanking all the individuals who called dispatch helping them with the arrest of these three suspects. The sheriff said he is proud of the team effort and warns citizens to keep vigilant. During the daytime, when people are away from their homes, is frequently when burglars strike. Sheriff Cumberworth thanked all the individuals who called dispatch helping them with the arrest of these three suspects.  

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