LINDSAY, Okla. - Bill Whitehead, admittedly, has accumulated a large amount of stuff over his 65 years. But late last month, some of that stuff was stolen right out of his rural McClain workshop.
"I got a lot of junk—," said the retired dairy farmer before correcting himself. "A lot of stuff."
A sandblaster, number of saws, tool boxes and chests, as well as an untold amount of miscellaneous tools missing and only discovered after Whitehead drove out to his shop, looking for a specific tool.
"I open the door and, voila, everything was thrown everywhere," he said. "And there's a lot of things I'll never find because I don't know what all they got."
Whitehead filed a police report with the McClain County Sheriff's office. While he waited for word on his case, he decided to do some sleuthing of his own and turned to the online classified site Craigslist.
"I went to the tool section on Craigslist, and there (was my sandblaster). I knew that was mine as soon as I saw it,. There’s my Sawzall, there’s my spot welder," Whitehead said, pointing to the items now in the bed of his pickup truck. "And all of this would have been sold if they weren’t asking so much for it."
Whitehead said he and a friend contacted the seller and met with 33-year-old Jeffrey Wheeler on October 9, which only confirmed Whitehead's suspicions: it was his property. That's when Whitehead said he called the McClain County Sheriff who in turn called Oklahoma City Police.
"This is what’s ironic," Whitehead said as he opened one of the tool boxes. "I said, well there’s my prescription bottle with my name on it. It’s kind of hard to say that’s not mine."
According to court documents, Wheeler willingly showed officers the items he posted for sale, adding that he posted the items for a friend that lives at the house, but who wasn't home at the time. A woman hiding inside the home, 35-year-old Nikki Hutsenpiller, who also goes by the last name of Frady or Hamill, and Wheeler were arrested on complaints of concealing stolen property.
"What I don’t understand is why people is so lazy to work that they have to steal from everybody else that does," said Whitehead. "There’s a lot that I didn’t get back that I know is gone. But, I got more back than a thought I would get back."