by Valerie Verkamp
Landmark assistant editor
One suspect has already been charged in connection with several vehicle break-ins that resulted in a hotel guest being shot in the leg by a stray bullet, and police on Tuesday said more arrests have been made.
The Platte County Prosecutor's Office charged 18-year-old Roderick D. Thompson of Kansas City with four felony counts of tampering with a motor vehicle in the first degree. Thompson is currently being held at the Jackson County Detention Center.
In all, four suspects have been identified and three of them have been taken into custody. Case files are being completed on those suspects not yet charged, Kansas City Police Department officials said Tuesday afternoon.
Court records say Thompson was taken into custody at 8:05 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 19 for allegedly defacing a black Ford F150. While in custody, Thompson allegedly implicated himself in a series of vehicle break-ins authorities refer to as smash-and-grabs. Based upon his knowledge of the events that occurred on Tuesday, Feb. 10, Thompson was also charged in connection with operating a silver Mercedes without the owner's approval and defacing a grey Dodge Charger, as well as a red Ford F150.
Platte County Circuit Court Judge Quint Shafer set his bond a $50,000.
Thompson's alleged involvement in a series of smash-and-grabs on February 10 transpired at the Microtel Inn and Suites by Wyndham located at 11831 NW Plaza Circle Drive, Kansas City in Platte County east of I-29 near the airport exit.
An unidentified witness said he noticed three black males entering several parked vehicles in the hotel lot. When the witness confronted the perpetrators, they fired several shots in the witness's general direction.
One of the stray bullets pierced a hotel guest's room window, striking the innocent hotel guest in the leg as he was sleeping.
A long term guest service agent at the hotel said at least two shots struck the hotel.
The guest suffered non-life-threatening injury.
Hotel employees at the time said it had been at least a year since they have received a guest complaint regarding a smash-and-grab occurrence.
During the early morning hours on Feb. 10, thieves also targeted several adjacent airport hotel parking lots. Approximately 30 vehicles in all were broken into at four different hotels. Five guests at the Four Points by Sheraton had their truck windows broken out and items stolen. Hilton and Holiday Inn also reported multiple vehicle break-ins.
Authorities say the perpetrators were stealing guns and leaving some other valuable items behind.
This type of crime isn't new to the I-29 corridor. Last July, more than 20 vehicles parked outside four airport hotels were struck. Thieves made off with a .22 caliber handgun, a .40 caliber handgun, credit cards, laptop computer, iPad, and GPS device.