4 men accused of burglarizing Greenfield Best Buy plead not guilty

Kentrell Steppes, Richard Listenbee, Jason Harris, Michael Durkins

MILWAUKEE — – Four men from Illinois and Indiana charged in connection with the burglary of the Best Buy store in Greenfield were in court on Monday afternoon, Sept. 23 for their preliminary hearings. While only charged in this one incident, police said these men were part of a larger crime ring — responsible for at least 25 burglaries over the past three months. They allegedly hit other stores in the area including Ulta, Kohl’s, and Art’s Cameras Plus. Investigators said they’re accused of stealing more than $1 million worth of merchandise from retailers across the Midwest.

The suspects include 43-year-old Richard Listenbee (Kokomo, IN), 41-year-old Kentrell Steppes (Dixmoor, IL), 19-year-old Jason Harris, and 18-year-old Michael Durkins (both from Country Club Hills, IL). The four face the following criminal counts:

  • Burglary of a building or dwelling, as a party to a crime (all four suspects)
  • Vehicle operator flee/elude officer causing property damage (Steppes)

In court on Monday afternoon, Listenbee and Steppes waived their preliminary hearings. Probable cause was found for both, and each was bound over for trial. Each entered not guilty pleas to the charges filed against them, and scheduling conferences were set for Oct. 9. A bail/bond hearing was scheduled for Oct. 1 for Steppes.

As for Durkins and Harris, Greenfield police detectives testified during their preliminary hearings, and motions to dismiss from the defense were denied by the court. Both men were bound over for trial. A bail/bond hearing was scheduled for Oct. 1, and a scheduling conference was set for Oct. 9 for Harris, while a bail/bond hearing was scheduled for Oct. 9 for Durkins.

According to the criminal complaint, a Greenfield police officer responded to a burglary alarm at the Best Buy store on S. 76th Street just after 4 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 8. As he pulled into the parking lot, the officer turned off his squad’s lights and observed a white van “pulling out from behind the business.” When the officer saw this, he activated his emergency lights and siren — and a pursuit began.

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The initial officer attempted a PIT maneuver on the van as it was attempting to enter the freeway eastbound to I-894. But that attempt failed. A short time later, another officer attempted a PIT maneuver -- and was successful. The van rolled over -- and came to a complete stop. Officers were able to apprehend the four men inside the van.

The complaint indicated inside the van, officers located "two City of Milwaukee garbage bins, tools, clothing, and a large amount of electronic equipment in wrapped packaging." Officers also learned the van "being driven by Steppes had been previously reported as stolen, and none of the individuals in the van had consent to be in the stolen car."

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Officers followed up with the Best Buy store. The complaint said "the business was forcibly entered through a back door." Video surveillance backed that up -- and showed the men "running around the closed store, grabbing electronic items, and placing them into a garbage bin" -- the same type of garbage bin that was recovered from the van. Officials said the value of the merchandise taken was approximately $19,000.

Investigators interviewed Durkins and Harris. The complaint indicated Durkin and two other men "brought a garbage can into the store with them. Durkins stated while in the store, he and the other two men were wearing gloves." Durkins said, "Steppes stayed in the van and waited for the men to exit." Harris had a similar story, according to the complaint. It said Harris indicated all the men met up at a motel. The complaint said "Harris confirmed it was Listenbee who busted the door open" at the Best Buy. The "three men then brought in one garbage can and began to grab stuff." The complaint said Harris "saw the police when they were pulling away and saw the police chase them. Harris stated Steppes was driving the van and did drive away from the police."

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