Discovery of safe leads to burglary arrest in Joplin

Discovery Of Safe Leads To Burglary Arrest In Joplin
KOAM Image/Google Map Image/Mugshot from JPD

JOPLIN, Mo. – The discovery of a safe between a Joplin hotel and a restaurant leads to the recovery of a stolen vehicle.

Police arrested suspect Adam G. Gustafson, 38, of Joplin for theft and burglary. Gustafson also faces a related charge in McDonald County.

The Stolen Safe

The Joplin Police Department says on January 12, 2022, shortly after 8:00 am, police took a call of a found item. That item was a safe. A Cracker Barrel employee reportedly found it behind the restaurant in the grass. There was also a dolly.

Officers checked nearby businesses and found it belonged to TownePlace Suites. A manager there stated they had a theft but hadn’t reported it yet. Someone took the safe from an electrical room on the first floor of the hotel. There were also multiple hand and power tools stolen from the engineering room inside the hotel.

While officers were there, hotel staff found someone was in a room that was supposed to be unoccupied. Essentially, someone was trespassing. According to Joplin Police PIO William Davis, officers spoke to an adult make who provided a false ID. That man was Adam Gustafson. Police also found a headlamp and two hotel key cards belonging to TownPlace Suites. They found other stolen items in the room.

Stolen Vehicle at the Hotel

According to Joplin PIO Davis, officers recalled Gustafson being involved in a pursuit with law enforcement in McDonald County recently. According to Joplin PIO Davis, he was allegedly driving a stolen vehicle in that pursuit. Police did recover that vehicle (a red 2022 Hyundai Tucson).

At the hotel, officers found a different stolen vehicle in the parking lot. This was a black 2022 Hyundai Tucson. According to court documents, “These Missouri plates had been reported stolen out of Webb City, Missouri on 12/28/22. The vehicle had been reported stolen out of Joplin on 12/19/21.” The plates didn’t belong to the car.

Inside the vehicle, police found multiple hand tools, power tools, tape and a black hooded sweatshirt. A maintenance employee identified all those items as stolen from TownPlace Suites.

Police also found in the vehicle a Werner fold ladder, Troy-Bilt Generator, multiple hand and power tools, and seven Blink cameras that were stolen from Oxford Apartments on January 11, 2022.

According to court documents, authorities believe that Gustafson stole the hotel master key, entering multiple rooms inside the facility unlawfully. They accuse him of stealing items belonging to TownPlace Suites, storing them in a stolen vehicle on the parking lot with stolen license plates.

Court documents state, “He appeared to be under the influence of drugs.”

Police arrested Gustafson and took him to jail. The Newton County Prosecutor’s Office filed the following charges against Gustafson:

  • Burglary 1st degree
  • Receiving Stolen Property

The Joplin Police Department is still investigating the case.

Previous Stolen Vehicle in McDonald County

Earlier in the week, the McDonald County Prosecutor charged Gustafson after a police pursuit in the stolen vehicle.

On January 10, 2022, around 10:00 am, Goodman Police Chief Adam Miller took a call about a possible disturbance. The person told Miller that Adam Gustafson kept driving through his yard in a stolen vehicle.

Chief Miller found the suspect vehicle behind Redneck Cafe. Just before making contact, the vehicle, a red 2022 Hyundai Tucson, left at a high rate of speed. The Chief pulled the vehicle over, but as he approached, the vehicle took off again. The vehicle sped off north on Highway 59. Chief Miller pursued him.

The vehicle at one point was going at a very high rate of speed, according to Chief Miller, going north in the southbound lane.

According to court documents, the Goodman Police Chief believes the suspect was intentionally running vehicles off the road. He nearly hit one vehicle head-on at Highway 59 and AA Highway.

Chief Miller says he lost sight of the vehicle but later found it under a tarp. He also found the suspect. The vehicle was confirmed stolen from Frank Fletcher. The Police Department towed the vehicle from the scene.