Man arrested for home invasion

Ron Burtz

The transition from 2020 to ‛21 has not produced any relief of stress for Custer County Sheriff Marty Mechaley and his deputies. On Jan. 3 a deputy was involved in a shooting in Custer and on New Year’s Day two other officers arrested a man who allegedly invaded a Custer home and assaulted the occupants.
Mechaley said at 8:22 p.m. Jan. 1, dispatch received a call reporting that an unknown man had “barged in” to a home on Clay Street in Custer.
“It was reported that a male had burst through the door of the residence and appeared to be under the influence of something,” said Mechaley.
Deputies Justin Richardson and Sgt. Ross Norton responded to the call and entered the residence to find one of the home’s occupants holding the suspect down on the floor.
At the time, Mechaley said, the subject appeared to be contrite and was repeating, “I’m sorry,” over and over. However, after officers placed him in restraints and were taking him to the patrol vehicle, he became agitated and allegedly threatened one of the officers.
Mechaley said the same kind of escalation apparently occurred after the man entered the home uninvited.
“The caller said they were trying to keep him calm and talk to him while we responded,” said Mechaley. “Shortly thereafter they said the subject was starting to become violent.”
The victims reported that the suspect attempted to choke the woman and punched the man.
Deputies arrested 27- year-old Thaddeus Ray Sinclair of Rapid City, charging him with first degree burglary, aggravated assault and simple assault.
While deputies were still on scene, another woman showed up and spoke to deputies, identifying herself as Sinclair’s girlfriend. She said the couple had been drinking at a Custer bar earlier in the evening and then had returned to a relative’s home in the same neighborhood.
She told the deputies Sinclair had begun “acting strangely” and ran away from the house where they had been.  
Mechaley said this is just one more in a string of unusual incidents dating back to last spring’s COVID-19 closures and which were escalated by the widespread national unrest last summer.
“I’ve never experienced this in my whole career,” said Mechaley. “I was holding out hope that it was going to change, but we’re not seeing that yet.”
The sheriff said he attributes the rise in conflict to COVID-19 lockdowns, civil unrest and mental health issues.
Mechaley said he is currently understaffed because the officer involved in the Jan. 3 shooting is on administrative leave until the investigation of the incident is complete and because a 24-hour hospital guard must be provided for the suspect who was shot.


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