Charges have been filed against a Platte Woods, Mo. man for his role in the theft of more than $30,000 worth of items from a Platte County home and possibly staying at the location for an undetermined time while committing the crime. According to a probable cause statement, Derek Erber, 29, previously helped the victim with lawn care work. Items were taken from her residence off of Interstate 29 in a residential area between NW 64th and NW 72nd streets. The items were taken while she traveled to Florida for a period of several months last year.
Erber has an extensive criminal history in Platte County, including charges of tampering with a motor vehicle, theft and multiple drug-related offenses. He’s charged with a Class C felony of receiving stolen property in the most recent court filing, dated Wednesday, Dec. 23.
The crime allegedly occurred between March 4 and April 8 of last year.
According to court documents, a neighbor noticed the victim’s gold Hyundai Sonata missing from her driveway on April 8. A further check showed the back door to the garage open with damage to the lock with keys to the car located inside missing. The motion sensor light had been ripped out of its socket.
The neighbor told police she saw a man identified as Erber get into a black Chevy S-10 pickup truck at the victim’s residence early the previous morning. She knew him because of the yard work he did there and also stated that the victim gave him money and bought him things.
A check on Erber revealed that he had pawned items belonging to the victim on April 11 and 13, including a cigar cutter and foreign coins. The victim linked Erber to knowing about the items due to previous interactions, court documents said.
The Sonata was recovered from a farmer’s field in Platte County just north of Tiffany Springs and N. Amity roads.
The victim returned to her residence in May and determined the list of items missing included several furs, jewelry, silverware sets, Waterford Christmas ornaments, a stamp collection, currency and “several other artifacts from all over the world.” In addition, she noted food missing from her freezer, shrimp tails in her sink, the toilet lids up and a water bill of more than $450 despite shutting off her service prior to leaving for Florida. The victim told police she believed a man might have been living there without her knowledge while she was away.
The total estimated value of the stolen property was determined to be $30,405.46 along with $3,400 in damage to the property.
In an interview with police, Erber denied being at the residence since the victim left for Florida and said his boss picked him up for work while he walked outside of the home on the morning the neighbor saw him. The boss later denied that.
Erber also linked Nicholas Stickney to the crime, and a search revealed that he had pawned stolen items from the home, including jewelry that had already been sent to a refinery. Stickney admitted to pawning the items in an interview with police but denied knowing they were stolen along with involvement in the burglary.
Stickney later returned a pocket knife, a sword and other items to the victim.