Taney County Prosecuting Attorney, Jeffrey M. Merrell announced today that DON OWENS, dob: 12-07-1974 plead guilty Thursday to the class A felony of possession of a controlled substance as a prior and persistent felony drug offender, and to the class C felony of attempted stealing as a prior and persistent felony offender. DON OWENS faces up to fifteen (15) years for the possession charge and seven (7) years for the attempted stealing. Formal sentencing is set for June 10, 2010 in front of Taney County Circuit Judge Mark Orr.
On February 18, 2010, Officers with the Branson Police Department responded to the Branson Landing to investigate a suspicious backpack that was left in front of an ATM machine. Inside the backpack officers discovered burglary tools and a small incendiary device. The Springfield Police Department Bomb Squad was brought in for security purposes to detonate the backpack. Later through surveillance video, DON OWENS was discovered to be the owner of the backpack. Upon a consent search of DON OWENS room at a local hotel , Branson Police Officers discovered a baggie containing a white crystal substance that field tested positive for methamphetamine as well as receipts tying DON OWENS to the backpack left in front of the ATM machine. Through their investigation, Branson detectives learned that DON OWENS was attempting to break into the ATM machine on the landing through a method he learned on the popular internet video site, YouTube.