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Helper woman involved in possible crime spree

Emery County Progress editor

A crime spree which began in Orangeville on Sept. 13 ended in Kansas with two people dead and two people behind bars.

According to Emery County Sheriff Lamar Guymon, Chad Allen of Orangeville had called the Sheriff's Office and reported that two compound bows and several guns were missing from his residence. The Orangeville residence belongs to Chad Allen's father, William Allen.

The burglary suspects were Robert Poulsen, 30, of American Fork; Ryan Schenck, 26, of Provo, and Melissa Ricketts, 20, of Helper. The suspects had allegedly spent time at the residence earlier in the day and returned later to burglarize the home. The suspects purportedly hid the stolen items in the bushes near the home and returned later to retrieve them.

Neighbors reported seeing three people enter the house and leave with two bows. Nothing further happened until Gary Gardiner of Castle Dale received a phone call from the Colorado State Police stating that they had located his pickup in Colorado. Gardiner was unaware that his vehicle was missing until he was notified by the Colorado authorities. At that point he notified the Emery County Sheriff's Office that his pickup had been stolen from the Chevron gas yard on coal haul road in Emery County.

The three burglary suspects allegedly stole the vehicle possibly on the morning of Sept. 14 after Poulsen's vehicle had broken down.

It's at that point where the story becomes very confusing. The three suspects left Emery County and traveled to the Grand Junction area, where they came into contact with Chad Lee Anderson of Hayden, Colo. formerly of Orangeville. It is presumed that Anderson and Poulsen knew each other while they both lived in Orangeville and Poulsen had inquired as to his whereabouts during his last visit to Orangeville.

The Mesa County Sheriff's Department said that a bicyclist reported seeing a truck in the river about 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 14 The truck was driven into the river near the Redlands Diversion Dam on the Gunnison River. Blood was discovered both inside and outside of the vehicle. A search of the area resulted in the discovery of a body covered with brush. The body was later identified to be that of Chad Lee Anderson. He had been shot multiple times. The shooting is under investigation and it is not clear at this time who the shooter was or what the motive for the shooting might have been. The pickup truck found in the water was that belonging to Gary Gardiner of Castle Dale.

Anderson had a 1991 Mercury Topaz and had been stopped in the area a week prior by area police. The Colorado police immediately put out an all points bulletin on the victim's car. The car was spotted about 11 p.m. in Goodland, Kan. on Sept. 15. A brief chase followed by Kansas police officers but they lost the vehicle. It was spotted again and the chase resumed. Someone in the suspect vehicle fired numerous shots at the officer's pursuing vehicles.

The vehicle was finally brought to a stop with a deflation device which disabled the car and it went out of control into a ditch. Schenck reportedly tried to exit the vehicle while the car was still moving and was quickly apprehended by the officers. Ricketts was in the back of the vehicle and was ordered out of the car. She had a gunshot wound in the foot which was estimated by authorities to be a couple of days old.

Poulsen was the driver of the vehicle and was suffering from an apparent self-inflicted gun shot wound. He was taken to an area hospital, where he later died.

Poulsen was out on parole in the state of Utah. Kansas officials recovered a 22 caliber hand gun and an unidentified rifle. Two compound bows were recovered from a Grand Junction pawn shop. A shotgun was recovered in a field by Orangeville which the suspects had purportedly left there because they didn't have ammunition for the gun. Other stolen items from the home in Orangeville have not been recovered at this time.

The two suspects, Ricketts and Schenck are being held in the Thomas County Jail in Colby, Kan. where they will face charges of suspicion of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer and possession of stolen property.

In Mesa County, Colo. the pair face charges including being accessories to murder and motor vehicle theft. In Emery County the pair face alleged burglary of a premises and motor vehicle theft.

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