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Archive for Saturday, December 23, 2000

Ex-police sergeant charged in Hutchinson burglaries

December 23, 2000

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— A former veteran police sergeant has been charged with the burglaries of seven different Hutchinson businesses, two of which date to when he was with the police department.

Randall Ray Sprinkle, 47, was charged Thursday in Reno County District Court with eight counts of burglary. He allegedly burglarized one of the businesses twice.

Sprinkle is free on $25,000 bond and is scheduled for a first appearance Jan. 10.

Hutchinson Police Chief Dick Heitschmidt said despite the charges, the case may not be closed.

"We're still not sure how many burglaries he's been involved in," Heitschmidt said. "At this point, we have no idea what the total loss would be. Even a guess at this point would be more than I can make. We could be looking at more burglaries."

Sprinkle resigned in October 1999 after investigators said he had allegedly gone into Heitschmidt's office and taken a copy of questions used for the police promotions process.

As an officer, Sprinkle was involved in a March 1987 incident in which a gun store owner stood on the Reno County Courthouse steps with pipe bombs strapped to his body. Negotiations with the man failed and Sprinkle, following orders, shot him. The man later died.

Sprinkle is accused of burglarizing a radio station and an automotive store two months before his resignation. His wife, Joyce Sprinkle, a city employee for nearly 2 1/2 years, was a desk clerk at the Police Department, but as of Thursday, was no longer employed with the department.

City Manager Joe Palacioz signed the termination papers, but declined to say whether Joyce Sprinkle had been fired. She is not considered a suspect in the burglaries, officials said.

Investigators said they have found stolen merchandise, at Sprinkle's home.

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