Bar banter ends in night of destruction at town's elevator
PAGE -- Some bar banter ended in a night of felony-level property destruction when a suggestion by one man to another to "go jump off the elevator" here allegedly led to the trashing of the grain elevator's office and pickup truck instead, resulting in thousands of dollars' worth of damage.
Donald Julian Ellis, 33, of Page, was charged Monday in Cass County District Court with one count each of burglary, theft and criminal mischief, all felonies, and one count of unauthorized use of a vehicle, a Class A misdemeanor.
According to a Cass County sheriff's report filed with the case, Deputy Keenan Zundel was dispatched about 11:46 p.m. to Fifth Street and Fifth Avenue in Page on Saturday on a report of a drunk driver in a white Chevy pickup with the name of the Page grain elevator, "The Arthur Companies," written on the side.
The caller said Ellis was driving the truck and was drunk, and was not supposed to be driving the company's vehicle.
Zundel tracked down Ellis, who said he stole the pickup after breaking into the grain elevator's office and destroying its contents, the report says. Ellis said he hid the vehicle nearby in a back alley, and gave the deputy the keys.
After arresting Ellis, who allegedly admitted to being intoxicated, the deputy's report states he went to the elevator and found the place had been broken into and trashed.
The door frame was destroyed, with the deadbolt still in the locked position.
Office supplies, chairs, file cabinets, computer and electrical equipment, and paperwork were tossed around the office, and powder from a freshly deployed fire extinguisher covered the office.
Ellis's footprints were visible through the powder, and another footprint was on another door. The office was in such chaos, the report states, that it was impossible to determine total damages.
Outside the office, another one of the company's pickups was driven into a concrete slab, jackknifing the grain cart attached to it and causing at least $5,000 worth of damage to the pickup.
The deputy's report states that Ellis told deputies he had been drinking and some people he knew told him to "go jump off the elevator." Enraged, Ellis went to the elevator, and to "show everyone how big of a man" he was, he trashed the place, the report states.
Ellis allegedly admitted breaking in the door with his shoulder, throwing things across the room and breaking them, and then spraying the place down with the fire extinguisher.
He then tried to "clean up" his fingerprints from the scene, he told the deputy, and drove off in the company's pickup.
His bail was set at $5,000.
His next court appearance is set for Sept. 18.