Stanly D. Colby
The Fairbury police department wants their SUV back, the SUV one of their officers stole as he headed to McCook to talk to his former boss, police chief Ike Brown. The policeman -- Stanly Colby, 40 -- attracted attention on Sept. 14 when he drove through Dawson County with the siren on and lights flashing for no apparent reason.
Curious, authorities called the Fairbury police department.
Fairbury Police Chief Chad Sprunk told the Lincoln County Sheriff's office at 6:40 p.m. that evening that Colby had stolen the police car and was headed west.
A North Platte policeman on the lookout near the I-80 overpass saw Colby in the SUV. Police followed as the car headed south on U.S. Highway 83.
Colby was potentially dangerous. He was armed with standard police weapons -- a Glock handgun, an AR-15 assault rifle and a .308 handgun.
Officers suspected that he might be on a personal vendetta and could resort to violence.
"As it was unknown why Mr. Colby had stolen his police car, officers waited until they had multiple backup units in place before stopping him," the Lincoln County sheriff's office said.
Deputies arrived and the car was stopped around mile marker 68 on U.S. 83, about 13 miles south of North Platte near Lone Star Road. Colby pulled over as soon as he was instructed to do so, the sheriff’s office said. He was ordered out of the car and detained without incident.
Colby told investigators he was heading to McCook, where he used to work as a policeman. He said he had something important to deliver to Chief Brown.
He was jailed and charged with possession of stolen property. His bond was set at $100,000.
The local sheriff’s office figured Sprunk would send officers to get Colby and the car, to take him back to Fairbury where he would be prosecuted for auto theft.
But Sprunk did not, and Colby and the SUV are still in North Platte.
Sprunk says the SUV, a 2013 Ford Explorer, is their best police vehicle, and his department needs it to do their job.
Lincoln County Chief Deputy Roland Kramer said the SUV and Colby must remain together because the SUV is key evidence in the case. Kramer said Lincoln County is also incurring extra jail expenses because Colby is kept separate from other prisoners for his own safety, and is under 24-hour watch.
Also, Lincoln County taxpayers paid the $500 cost a few days ago to transport Colby to Lincoln for psychiatric evaluation to see if he is capable of standing trial.
That determination has not been made yet.
Colby has been a good prisoner, if a costly one, Kramer said.
“He’s very respectful to us, and we care about him,” Kramer said. “But he obviously seems to have problems. We don’t want him out on the streets.”
Kramer said the Nebraska State Patrol is conducting the investigation and they haven’t discussed it with the sheriff’s office yet.
Meanwhile, Lincoln County will keep the SUV.
“It’s evidence,” Kramer said. “We don’t turn that stuff back.”