Man accused of dangerous crime wave in Jefferson Co. - KMOV.com

Man accused of dangerous crime wave in Jefferson Co.

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John Cullen, 39, is charged with stealing, and two counts of car theft and assault. He allegedly shoplifted before stealing three cars, including one from MoDOT. He eventually crashed. (Credit:  Jefferson Co Sheriff's Office) John Cullen, 39, is charged with stealing, and two counts of car theft and assault. He allegedly shoplifted before stealing three cars, including one from MoDOT. He eventually crashed. (Credit: Jefferson Co Sheriff's Office)
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

A 39-year-old man is facing charges for allegedly being behind a dangerous crime spree that occurred in Jefferson County on his birthday.

John Cullen, 39, is charged with stealing, and two counts of car theft and assault. Authorities say the crime spree began early Sunday afternoon when Cullen allegedly stole from a store. An off-duty Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy later stopped a car full of suspects which included Cullen. The officer said Cullen became concerned about an empty bottle of pills.

“The pill bottle was empty but we could not locate the pills at the time of the incident or any evidence of them. He apparently admitted to investigators that he took quite a few. I think the number was in the twenties,” said Lt. Gary Higginbotham with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.

Higginbotham proceeded to take Cullen to a hospital in Crystal City instead of jail. Cullen was later released. Police believe he then walked to a nearby MoDOT facility and stole a car before crashing it on Highway 61.

Cullen then allegedly walked down a road and stole a second car, eventually crashing it on I-55 south of Festus. He then walked over to a nearby home and tried to steal a third car, police said, but the owner spotted him so he ran off.

He proceeded to walk on a bridge over I-55 and onto Waggoner Road where he allegedly stole a pick-up truck.

“It started moving so I ran with no shoes and no shirt on and chased it up the driveway, but couldn’t catch it,” said Lawrence Hicks, the owner of the truck.

The truck later crashed three miles away. A woman, 52, suffered serious injuries in the crash, police said. Authorities believe Cullen then ran into nearby woods but was found and arrested thanks to a police dog.

“Then they brought the K9 unit in and followed the blood trail. You could hear the guy yipping a little as the dog was biting him and they drug him out,” said Hicks.

Police said he later admitted to stealing all three vehicles. 

Cullen spent one day in a hospital before being bright to the Jefferson County Jail where he is being held on a $75,000 cash-only bond.

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