January 27, 2023

Louisiana man receives 25 years for theft and destruction of recreational vehicle

Darkhorse Press

ATV Photo by Martin Jaroš on Unsplash

A Baton Rouge man has been convicted of motor vehicle theft and felony malicious mischief in Pearl.

Circuit Court Judge Steve Ratcliff recently sentenced Christopher William Oldenburg, 42, to 25 years in the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

A Pearl resident stored her 40-foot recreational vehicle at a storage facility in Pearl for safekeeping while not in use. Around 6 p.m. on June 6, 2022, the RV owner received a phone call from the storage facility informing her that whoever had removed her RV from the facility had damaged the fence and gate. The owner was surprised and told the storage facility employee that she had not authorized anyone to use the RV or remove it from the storage facility. As a result, the RV owner contacted the Pearl Police Department to report the RV as stolen.

An employee of the storage facility called the Pearl Police Department to report the theft and damage. Descriptions of the RV and suspect were also relayed to the Pearl Police Department.

Witnesses said that they had last seen the RV traveling on Highway 80 not long after leaving the storage facility. Officers scoured the area, checking multiple streets, locations, and businesses, looking for the RV and the suspect. While some officers were looking for the suspect, other officers returned to the storage facility and were able to get photos of the thief from surveillance video.

Within 15 minutes of the reported theft and malicious mischief, the heavily damaged RV was spotted abandoned at the Pearl Walmart. Pearl officers converged at Walmart to search for the thief. Officers reviewed the Walmart security footage and determined that the suspect had not entered the store, so officers continued to search the area. Finally, at 7:15 p.m., a Pearl officer approached a white male that matched the description given by witnesses.

Christopher William Oldenburg was identified and taken into custody. A background search of Oldenburg revealed he had multiple felony convictions in Louisiana.

Detectives with Pearl Police continued to investigate and gather evidence. They returned to the storage facility, where they photographed the fence and gate that were heavily damaged when Oldenburg was leaving the facility. Officers also retrieved and reviewed security video that showed the damage and identified Oldenburg as the person who stole the RV. Officers processed the RV and obtained more evidence that implicated Oldenburg. The RV was subsequently determined to be a total loss. The RV and storage facility’s damage was well over $25,000.00.

“Oldenburg made a mistake when he decided to continue his life of crime in Rankin County. As I’ve said before, we want the message to be clear; Do not come to Rankin County to steal,” District Attorney John K. Bramlett, Jr. said. “I sincerely hope this is the end of Oldenburg’s life of crime and that the sentence will encourage others not to steal things in Rankin County.

“We would like to thank the Pearl Police Department for their quick response to this crime. The excellent and efficient work of the detectives and patrol officers led to the quick arrest of Oldenburg. However, the officer’s work didn’t stop at the arrest. They continued to gather all available evidence to help bring this thief to justice. The thorough and tireless law enforcement work enabled our office to secure this conviction.”

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