by Heather Tomlinson
Police are still searching for a man who allegedly tried to steal equipment from a local electric company’s lot and who may have triggered a lockdown at Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital just a few hours later.
Lt. Shannon Smith, with the Somerset Police Department, said although investigators have tips on the whereabouts of Robert Beach, 44, of Jacksboro Street, Ferguson, since the incidents early Thursday morning, but he said the search is still ongoing.
“We have received several tips and we appreciate the public’s help in finding (Beach),” said Smith on Saturday.
SPD officers responded at around 3:15 a.m. Thursday to the South Kentucky RECC storage lot on North Main Street after they received a report of someone in the gated section of the lot. When officers arrived, they saw a man trying to steal an RECC bucket truck, according to Smith.
Smith said the officers were outside the gated lot, and from there they watched as the suspect allegedly drove the bucket truck across the enclosure. The two officers followed the suspect, later identified as Beach, but the bucket truck was empty when they came upon it on the other side of the lot.
Beach had allegedly loaded several things in the bucket truck before abandoning it.
Officers tracked Beach a short distance and found his shirt, some personal belongings, and some stolen property that had been discarded. Around that same time a vehicle registered to beach was found in the area.
The truck, a Ford F-150, allegedly contained several items belonging to RECC.
Several hours later, at around 6:30 a.m. Thursday, an employee at Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital called 911 and reported that a man was walking east through the hospital property toward Langdon Street while carrying a shotgun or rifle, according to Smith.
The sighting caused the hospital to go into a precautionary lockdown for around an hour, and nearby Memorial Preschool was notified, although students weren’t there at the time.
Smith has said there’s a possibility the man, possibly Beach, was picked up or drove away himself in a car.
Anyone with information on Beach is asked to call the SPD 24-Hour Crime Tip Line at (606) 676-TIPS, or use the See-Hear-Report text-a-tip program.