By Joshua Allen
ONL Staff Reporter
The collaborative effort of two police departments brought into custody a man who stole a trailer full of lumber earlier this month.
Okemah Police Department Assistant Chief Doug Danker, along with other officers, arrested last week 38-year-old Billy Deo in Weleetka on complaints of grand larceny after receiving a call Wednesday, Dec. 10 from Weleetka Police Department Sergeant Cody Wright.
Wright’s call to Danker concerned an earlier report — taken by Okemah PD officers — of a large trailer full of new lumber that was stolen from within the city limits.
Wright told the assistant chief that he had noticed a house, located within Weleetka’s city limits, “with a large quantity of new lumber and also a trailer parked behind the house,” Danker reported in an affidavit, filed with in the Okfuskee County District Court.
After speaking with Wright, Danker said he “decided to go to Weleetka to speak with the occupants of the residence,” the affidavit states, noting he arrived at the Weleetka PD at around 3:30 that afternoon.
Upon his approach to the house, located at 408 E. 1st Street in Weleetka, Danker reported seeing a Native American male running in a north-northeasterly direction from the house. The man was wearing a red and black jacket.
Wright, accompanying Danker at residence, exited his patrol car to inform the Okemah officer that he knew the running subject, identifying him as Deo. Danker said he lost sight of Deo after he ran behind the house.
As Danker attempted to follow the fleeing subject to the backside of the residence, he said he observed a red trailer backed up to the residence, the affidavit states.
The trailer stolen from Okemah had been reported as gray. Danker took a closer look and observed the trailer had been recently painted, noting gray paint could be seen in areas that had not been painted red, as well as small D-rings attached along both sides that were described in the initial report taken by Okemah officers.
Danker then reported seeing new lumber leaning against the house and under the carport, along with the beginning of a floor for a structure, constructed with some of the new lumber.
At this point, Okfuskee County Deputy Charles Starkey had arrived on scene, and Danker asked him to stay at the residence to “ensure the security of the stolen items while he went to the Weleetka PD to begin writing a search warrant,” which he sent to Okemah Police Chief Ed Smith, Jr. upon its completion and returned to the subject residence, the affidavit states.
The Okemah chief took the warrant to Okfuskee County District Judge Lawrence Parish, who signed the search warrant.
When Danker got back to the residence, he said he saw the homeowner, a Cheryl Coonhead, and her daughter, Lisa Postoak, return to the home.
Danker asked Coonhead if she would speak with him in his patrol car. Obliging, she got in and told the assistant chief that she knew nothing of the stolen and lumber but that Deo did ask to borrow her vehicle Monday, Dec. 10, telling her that he was going to Okemah to see his daughter.
Coonhead said when she returned home that Monday night from work around 11:00, she noticed the trailer full of lumber parked behind her house.
She then stated she “did not ask any questions because she knows Deo steals things and didn’t want to know anything about it,” it was reported in the affidavit.
Danker then spoke with her daughter, who also stated she didn’t know anything about the trailer or lumber.
Okemah Chief Smith arrived to the residence about 5:25 that evening — signed search warrant in hand — to execute the search. Danker provided a copy to Coonhead, and she provide the police officers a key to the home.
“Officer then enter the residence and began looking for any stolen property,” the affidavit states. “The officers did not find any stolen items inside the residence … (but) under the carport, which was located on the west side of the house, officers found that the wood, which was used to build a floor, had come from the trailer that was stolen inside the city limits of Okemah.”
The officers then loaded the unused wood onto the trailer before disassembling the floor and loading that lumber also.
After finding two pieces of plywood that matched the lumber stolen from Okemah in the back of Coonhead’s truck, Danker called a wrecker company to tow it to the District Attorney’s impound lot for safe-keeping, while a Weleetka officer used his vehicle to latch onto the trailer and haul it to the same impound lot.
Postoak then told Danker she wanted to talk, following the collection by officers of the stolen property. She told the assistant chief that Deo had told her on Monday that “he was going to go get some wood, so they could build their house,” Postoak told Danker, which he reported in the narrative of the affidavit.
Deo left the residence on foot, Postoak told Danker. She said he arrived back — this time in Coonhead’s truck — around 11 that night — pulling “what she described as a blue trailer loaded with lumber,” Danker reported.
She confirmed, giving an eye witness account, that “Deo backed the trailer in behind the house,” Postoak said, also saying he told her that “once he unhooked the trailer, she needed to take the truck to pick Coonhead up from work.”
When Postoak got back home from picking her up, she said she asked Deo where he got the trailer and lumber, to which he replied that he stole it from Okemah and then asked her to get a bucket of red paint from the building, Postoak told Danker.
She said she took the paint to him and went inside the house, as Deo began painting the trailer.
Deo came in a while later, she said, took a shower and went to bed, also stating to Danker that the next day Deo told her to start building their house, and he would be back later, the assistant chief report said.
Postoak explained to Danker that “Deo is very controlling and will not let her talk to anyone … also stating that Deo controls her by not giving her methamphetamine if she does not do what he tells her to.”
Danker asked her to fill out a written statement with the information she provided him, to which she agreed to. She was then transported back to her residence in Weleetka.
Deo now awaits in jail the facing of two felony charges — grand larceny and knowingly concealing stolen property.
The value of the trailer and lumber, Danker reported, that was stolen was estimated to be around $2,000.