Police: 3 suspects caught in home burglary on Stagebarn Canyon Road

Published: Jun. 8, 2021 at 8:06 PM MDT|Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 8:49 AM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Reports of a break-in at a cave on private property has ended up as a home burglary arrest.

According to the Meade County Sheriff’s Office, three suspects have been apprehended after an incident that unfolded yesterday in Piedmont, on Stagebarn Canyon Road.

The suspects, whose names are being withheld because of their age, broke into a home sometime on Monday afternoon. Initially it was the cave on the property that was thought to have been illegally accessed, but further investigation revealed that the cave in question has been closed and inaccessible for years and it was the actual home that was allegedly burglarized.

The owners of the home spoke candidly about the history of break-ins on their property and the family heirlooms that have been stolen from them, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage. The property’s unusual cave, which had been previously open to the public, closed in 2007 due to roadway flooding. The location has since become the target of burglars and trespassers.

The Meade County Sheriff’s office searched for the suspects with drones and on foot. After being taken into custody, one of the juvenile offenders initially claimed they were trapped in the cave. Upon further discussion with authorities the offender’s story fell apart. The homeowner tells KOTA News the suspects had been in the home on the property, and were attempting to steal various items. Whether or not the three actually left the premises with stolen items is still unclear.

Authorities are currently investigating potential criminal trespass and burglary charges.

In a statement to the media, the Sheriff’s office said that “Stagebarn Canyon Road is private property and people should not be trespassing up there or attempting to enter the cave or the home as they are closed to the public.”

Interestingly, this particular property has always been a spot of curiosity and enticement. The area, the property and the cave have a long history in South Dakota, dating back to the early 1800s. A simple search online reveals multiple articles about Stagebarn County Road and its storied “crystal cave”. The location is listed as one of South Dakota’s “historical markers”, and it is listed as the number one location for Unorganized Territory of Southwest Meade, Meade County, South Dakota, United States. The cave on the property is prominently advertised online with no information regarding its supposed closure or any private property upon which it is located. In fact, the property, home and cave are all listed as a prime place to visit when in the Badlands, and called a Bed and Breakfast.

This history and publicity may explain why individuals target the property, but the homeowner says that the cave and the property have been closed since 2007.

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