Police working to link chain of crimes

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By Robin Bass

As Jeff Kelien remains confined to an Indiana jail following last week’s high speed chase, police in Spencer County are working to charge him with crimes allegedly committed in Kentucky.

“It’s not as simple as people think it is,” said Taylorsville Police Chief Toby Lewis.

Last week, it was reported on spencermagnet.com that Kelien, 42, was arrested by the Harrision County Sheriff’s Department after a 100-mph chase through Harrison and Floyd counties ended with a head-on collision along Indiana State Road 64 in Georgetown, Indiana. Authorities had reports that Kelien was involved in an attempted robbery and was driving a stolen 2005 Pontiac Grand Prix.

Taylorsville Police Chief Toby Lewis said the stolen vehicle belonged to Taylorsville Commissioner Lynda Huckleberry and was allegedly taken sometime before 5 a.m. last Tuesday from behind her restaurant, Lynda’s Grill, at 109 Jefferson Street.

Since the incident, local authorities have pieced together a series of clues and eye-witness statements that place Kelien at various locations in the county prior to the time Huckleberry’s car was stolen.

“We can put him in (her) car in Indiana, but can we put him in the car in Kentucky?” said Lewis. In addition to the circumstantial evidence that has been collected, Lewis said his hopes are that a witness will come forward with information to help police build their case against the Bullitt County man.

Spencer County Sheriff Steve Coulter said his department is investigating incidents in the county that Kelien is believed to be connected with – including the theft of a 4-wheeler from the 2000 block of Grays Run Road. The off-road vehicle was discovered by police Tuesday morning on KY 2239/Overlook Road approximately two and a half miles from the site of the reported theft.

Coulter said near the location where the 4-wheeler was found, he received the report of an apparent attempted auto theft. The owner called police after discovering the ignition switch tampered with in his unlocked vehicle.

A short distance away on Bloomfield Road is where Kelien talked his way into getting a ride into Taylorsville from a local resident. The man told authorities he was awaken by his dogs barking around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday morning and went out side to discover Kelien in his yard. Kelien was reportedly dropped off at Lynda’s Grill to use the phone. Lewis said it was the resident’s description of a man with a red tattoo on his neck that led to police identifying Kelien as a suspect.

While Kelien can not be placed directly at the scene on Overlook Road or with the 4-wheeler, Coulter said, “it just adds up.”

Currently, the only crime Kelien has been charged with by the Sheriff’s office is receiving stolen property. This charge is in connection with a stolen Chevy Blazer that was found on Stevens Lane last Tuesday. The vehicle was reported stolen from a Louisville car lot and has since been returned to its owners. Coulter said that after test driving the vehicle last Monday, Kelien allegedly took the key off the ring – and returned later that night for the car.

Kelien is currently housed at the Harrison County (Ind.) Justice Center.

Anyone with information relating to these incidents is encouraged to call the Spencer County Sheriff’s office at 477-3200 or Taylorsville Police Department at 477-3231. Police Officer Kevin Mills is the investigating officer for the theft of Huckleberry’s car. He can be contacted by email at kmills@taylorsvillepd.org.