SIDNEY- A series of crimes in Sidney has caused concern among many residents, and the violent nature of some of the incidents has locals wondering about the future of our quiet and relatively safe community. The first incident that caused much concern was the late-night attack of an 84-year-old woman residing at the Western Heritage Apartments in Sidney. According to Sidney Police, the suspect in the crime, Nathan Robinson, 23 years old, of Sidney, banged repeatedly on the door of the woman's residence after 2 a.m. on the morning of Wednesday, January 17. The woman opened the door and it is alleged that Robinson assaulted the woman, seized her keys, and stole her 2012 Chevrolet Cruz. Medical personnel were called to the residence at approximately 3:25 a.m. and the victim was treated for injuries believed to have resulted from the assault, which were not life-threatening.
Over the next few days, the Sidney Police Department, and the Cheyenne County Sheriff's Department worked on leads received from Robinson's former associates and relatives. Social media posts were also shared with Robinson's name, image, and the red Chevrolet he was thought to still be driving. Sidney Police entered Mr. Robinson's information, and the information for the stolen vehicle, into the National Crime Information Center database.
Sidney Police Chief Joe Aikens said, "From the start, we received tips from people in Kimball and around the county about those locations where the suspect could be heading, and advised officers in their respective departments to be on the lookout for Robinson." Both Sidney Police and the Cheyenne County Sheriff's Department received numerous calls and tips concerning the whereabouts of Robinson during that period, from Colorado, and kept up with the tracking of the suspect. On January 23, Robinson was placed in custody at 11:35 p.m. in Colorado by Canon City Police. According to Canon City Police, officers received a call from a convenience store clerk who said that the occupants of a red Chevrolet Cruz were acting suspiciously in the area of the store. Officers responded and Robinson was found with another male passenger in the car. Robinson was placed under arrest and held at the Fremont County jail. The passenger was not charged with a crime and was released at the scene.
Robinson was then transported back to Cheyenne County and appeared before the Honorable Judge Randin R. Roland on January 31 to face charges stemming from the incident. He was advised of charges including Class 3A Felony Abuse of a Vulnerable Adult, Class 2 Felony Robbery, and Class 2A Felony Theft for shoplifting $5,000 or more. He was issued a $100,000 bond and next scheduled for a
Status of Waiver of Preliminary Hearing on February 12 at Cheyenne County Court. The victim's car was brought back by Sidney Police for further search and investigation.
Sidney Police Chief Joe Aikens stated that residents should install doorbell-style cameras in their places of residence and be aware of any suspicious or unknown individuals. He also stressed that elderly residents should not answer their doors for strangers at hours they are unaccustomed to having visitors, and do not hesitate to call the police if they are unsure about a person or persons appearing at their doorstep.
Another violent crime occurred in Sidney on January 25. According to Sidney Police, Matthew L. Cleays, of Sidney, was arrested and charged with six counts, including Assault, False Imprisonment, Impersonating a Peace Officer, and Possession of Methamphetamine. Cleasy allegedly trapped a woman inside a hotel room at the Quality Inn, and when two employees attempted to intervene, Cleasy assaulted the two workers. Sidney Police responded to the scene, and Chief Joe Aikens said, "When I arrived, the individual committing the assault, and committing several other crimes, was identified by hotel staff." Cleasy was arrested and transported to the Cheyenne County Jail, where upon processing it was discovered, according to Sheriff's Deputy Zach Goodrich, that Cleasy was allegedly in possession of a small bag of a white crystalline substance, believed to be Methamphetamine, hidden in his sock. Two other bags of the same substance were also found during processing. Cleasy was described by officials as being uncooperative during his booking and processing.
On January 31, Cleasy appeared before the Honorable Judge Randin R. Roland in Cheyenne County Court and was advised of the charges against him: Attempt of a Class 2 Felony, First Degree False Imprisonment, Terroristic Threats, Attempt of a Class 3 or 3A Felony, and Possession of a Controlled Substance. Cleasy is no stranger to the judicial system as he has been arrested before on felony drug charges, including an arrest in March of 2019 for a series of controlled substance sales facilitated by the Western Nebraska Narcotics Intelligence Group.
In additional news, a 30-year-old on probation subjected to a random search by probation officers was discovered to have methamphetamine. The subject was arrested and taken to the Cheyenne County Jail and is awaiting a court hearing. Another incident occurred on Sunday, January 28, concerning a disturbance at Applebees that night. A patron was intoxicated and causing a disturbance, and refused to leave the premises. Cheyenne County Sheriffs were called and escorted the individual, described as a 60-year-old man not from Cheyenne County, out of the establishment and back to the Best Western Hotel. The next day, in the afternoon, the individual made a series of 911 calls to the Sheriff's Department and Nebraska State Patrol in North Platte and Kearney, allegedly complaining about the treatment he had received on Sunday. The calls persisted until Sheriff's Department personnel arrived and arrested the man for Misuse of the Emergency Services System.
Coupled with recent sprees of vandalism by juveniles and young adults in the area and fuel thefts, law enforcement personnel have been very busy lately trying to prevent and stop crimes in Cheyenne County. Incidents like those above seem to occur in bunches, so please keep aware of your surroundings and make note of any persons or actions that seem out of the ordinary. Details and information provided by citizens are often key components to stopping crime and apprehending suspects after the fact.