Sheriff's department searching for suspect possibly armed with machete

(Source: Oregon County Sheriff's Office)
(Source: Oregon County Sheriff's Office)

MYRTLE, MISSOURI (KAIT) - Sheriff's departments in Southeast Missouri are actively searching for a possibly armed suspect and they've warned residents to lock their homes and cars as he's already stolen one vehicle.

The suspect is 26-year-old Jeffrey Wegener of Nebraska. The 6"0' tall suspect might have a machete on him.

The vehicle he stole belongs to the Oregon County Sheriff's Department. We were in Myrtle, Missouri Monday afternoon talking with residents about what  happened.

It's normally quiet in Myrtle, Missouri.

"I leave my trucks unlocked and my windows down," Jeremy Hall told Region 8 News.

That is until an incident Sunday night that has the whole town talking and on edge.

"Yeah, we lock our cars and houses now," Hall said.

The Oregon and Ripley County Sheriff's are on the lookout Jeffrey Wegener. The Oregon County Sheriff's Department said he stole a deputy's truck Sunday night and drove it into the Eleven Point River.

Region 8 News spoke with residents in Myrtle on Monday. They said it all started at the Flash Market in Myrtle.

We spoke with the clerk who was on duty when it happened. She wasn't willing to go on camera but says Jeffrey Wegener was at the store for three hours Sunday night and called himself a drifter.

The clerk said he made her nervous and the whole he was at the store, he was acting suspicious and kept walking to and from his car. The clerk believes he was shoplifting.

The gas station closes at 9 on Sunday nights and the clerk said she and multiple other people told Wegener he had to leave but he was unwilling to.

Jeremy Hall was at the gas station Monday morning. All day, people have been discussing how Wegener stole the deputy's car.

"They called the law on him for shoplifting and he was acting strange and George Underwood got down here, the sheriff and a deputy and they were talking to him and then he run around the building, got in the deputy rig and left," Hall said.

Wegener then drove it into the Eleven Point River at Stubblefield Access.

While the truck has been recovered, Wegener is still on the run and might be armed with a machete.

The sheriff's department is now warning residents in Myrtle to lock up.

The department warns if you do see Wegener, don't approach him. Instead, call authorities. The Oregon County Sheriff Department's number is (417) 778-6611.

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