Beloit evidence room burglarized

By ERIN MATHEWS Salina Journal

BELOIT — A Beloit man is being accused of burglarizing a room being used for evidence processing by the Beloit Police Department and stealing marijuana-growing supplies being held as evidence in a case against him and family members.

After the burglary was discovered at 1 p.m. Sunday, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation was contacted to assist in the investigation.

An audit of all property and evidence contained in the room was immediately completed, Beloit Police Chief Ryan Stocker said in a statement released Wednesday to the Journal.

The only evidence missing was from a case involving Michael Sowter Sr., 46, Michael Sowter II, 22, and James Sowter, 21, all of Beloit, according to the statement.

All three Sowter men were arrested at 10:30 p.m. Sunday for violating terms of bond.

Michael Sowter II also faces charges of burglary, theft, criminal damage to property and obstruction of the legal process.

He is accused of stealing growing pots, soil, fertilizer and other evidence that was being held in connection with the case against the Sowters, Stocker said.

James Sowter has been released on bond, and Michael Sowter Sr. and Michael Sowter II were still in jail Wednesday, Stocker said. A $75,000 cash-only bond was set on Michael Sowter II on Wednesday.

The burglary occurred at the former National Guard Armory, 416 E. 12th, which is now owned by the city of Beloit and is being used by several city departments.

A window was broken to gain entry into the building. Also damaged was an inside door that leads to a room where evidence is submitted to the police department before it is transferred to another secure location, Stocker’s statement said.

“I have received several phone calls from concerned individuals wanting to know if any evidence from other cases has been tampered with, and I can assure them that the only case tampered with was the previous case against the Sowters,” Stocker said.

Mitchell County Attorney Mark Noah said the marijuana-growing charges against the Sowters likely will be dropped, but the new charges against Michael Sowter II could carry an even stiffer penalty.

“I don’t think I’m going to have a hard time getting a conviction,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like this ever.”

He said Michael Sowter II is scheduled to make a first appearance today in Mitchell County District Court.

He said police have digital photographs of the evidence that was stolen to use as evidence in the burglary case. He said the evidence in the marijuana-growing case most strongly implicated Michael Sowter II.

Among the evidence taken was a marijuana grower’s bible, Noah said.

Noah said steps have been taken to improve security at the evidence storage site.

“Different arrangements have been made for securing evidence now so we aren’t going to have that problem again,” he said.

n Reporter Erin Mathews can be reached at 822-1415 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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Grow Your Own says….
If we would just legalize the growing of plants for personal usage, just like we did with brewing your own beer and wine, we could save taxpayers $500 Billion a year in the costs of trials and prisons! America has MORE people in prison per capita than all other nations! That’s sad for the ‘land of the free’.

laughing says….
Add this one to “America’s Dumbest Criminals”
papa razzi says….
SOWTER boys sound RAD to me

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