Crime & Courts

Citizen’s watchful eye led to man’s arrest in Towne West Square light pole vandalism

Wichita police say a citizen’s watchful eye helped catch a man who alleged vandalized six light poles at Towne West Square mall over the weekend.

Rodnee Ray Cain’s arrest on Friday isn’t his first brush with the law. Court and Kansas Department of Corrections records show he was put on probation three months ago after he pled guilty to felony criminal threat, stalking and harassment in a domestic violence case. He was also wanted on a warrant connected to a Feb. 8 home burglary, according to court records.

On Friday at around 7 p.m., the citizen spotted Cain cutting wires on a light pole in the mall’s parking lot before taking off in a sedan, Wichita police spokesman Officer Charley Davidson said. That citizen tracked down an off-duty police officer working an after-hours security post at Towne West, which led to on-duty officers getting on the case.

Following the citizen’s description of the car, the officers found it driving south in the 500 block of south West Street. When they stopped it, Cain jumped out of the car and ran. Officers chased him briefly and arrested him on suspicion of six counts of destruction of property, an aggravated weapons violation and an outstanding warrant, Davidson said.

A 16-year-old boy was driving the car. There was also a 17-year-old boy inside.

Cain, 43, was booked into the Sedgwick County Jail at 9:17 p.m. Friday, records show. He remained in jail Monday in lieu of $100,000 bond for a probation violation.

The vandalism is another instance of copper theft in Wichita, Davidson said, adding that police “appreciate the citizen’s help” catching Cain.

“We have had problems of copper theft throughout the city. This is a prime example of citizens doing a good job of calling police ... to report suspicious activity.”

Police plan to present the case to prosecutors, who will decide whether to file criminal charges, Davidson said.

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Amy Renee Leiker has been reporting for The Wichita Eagle since 2010. She covers crime, courts and breaking news and updates the newspaper’s online databases. You can reach her at 316-268-6644. She’s an avid reader and mom of three in her non-work time.