Photo: Jason Laird
As the search continues for 42-year-old Jason Laird of Gainesville, three new cases have been filed against him in connection with crimes reported over the last few weeks.
Ozark County Sheriff Darrin Reed posted Laird’s photo on Facebook on Jan. 24. The Ozark County Times reports the post indicated the Gainesville man was wanted by officers on six Ozark County active warrants, with “several other warrants pending.”
Reed’s post was shared 478 times, and a flurry of tips was received by officers over the last few weeks, but none has led to Lairds arrest.
However, developments since the Facebook post have led to three new cases being filed, bringing the total number of active warrants to nine.
Laird was able to evade law enforcement from both the Ozark County Sheriff’s Office and the Missouri State Highway Patrol at one point.
In that case, a female resident of a home told law enforcement Laird had fled out the back door and into nearby woods.
Believing he would return to the woman’s home, officers parked a short distance away and walked into a forested area.
As they walked deeper into the woods toward the house, they heard a man and woman yelling at each other. Dispatch confirmed Laird had returned to the residence.
While the deputy returned to his patrol unit and drove toward the home, the trooper continued on foot, approaching the residence from the rear.
Laird reportedly fled on foot, as the deputy approached.
Despite being ordered to stop, Laird continued on, eluding the officers in the woods.
The two officers were joined in the pursuit by several others from various law enforcement agencies. However, due to the rough terrain, officers were unable to locate Laird, the report says, and the search was abandoned.
Three days after the pursuit, on Jan. 22, the Ozark County Sheriff’s Office was notified a car had been unlawfully taken from the Gainesville R-5 School District.
Surveillance video from the school grounds shows a person, who appears to be a man, dressed in bib-type overalls and a hooded sweatshirt drive the car to an area where a fuel tank is stored at 2:38 a.m.
The footage reportedly shows the suspect attempt to fuel the car from the school’s tank before driving away.
The next day, the sheriff’s office was advised a similar vehicle was spotted a few miles from the Gainesville High School.
Ozark County Sheriff’s Deputy Cpl. Curtis Dobbs responded and found the missing car in a driveway with a sheet over the rear covering the license plate.
After verifying it was the missing car, officers searched the vehicle finding clothing, boots, cellphones, a spotting scope, a waterproof bag and tools commonly used to gain entrance to locked vehicles.
That same day, officers responded to a report of a burglary at a residence along Cedar Oak Drive. A woman told law enforcement the home had been entered while she and her husband were away.
She said they found several articles of wet clothing on the floor of the home that did not belong to anyone in their family.
Two handguns, were missing, along with ammunition for the weapons and a pair of work boots.
Laird is charged with a Class A misdemeanor of resisting or interfering with an arrest, detention or stop in connection with the foot pursuit with officers.
He is charged with the Cass D felony of tampering with a motor vehicle in connection with the theft of the school’s car.
He is charged with the Class B felony of first-degree burglary and two Class D felonies of stealing a firearm in connection with the break-in at the home along Cedar Oak Drive.
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