MOUNT VERNON — On Oct. 13, 2010, John Nussbaum returned home to find his garage had been burglarized.
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“I don’t remember everything that was taken,” Nussbaum told the News. “My golf clubs were taken. And some of my deer hunting stuff — my bow and my deer stand were taken. There were some personal items taken from the house, some silver and sports memorabilia.”
Nussbaum’s stolen property was recovered almost exactly a month later when the Knox County Sheriff’s Office raided the home of Matthew Hoffman on Columbus Road as part of the then Apple Valley missing persons investigation.
Although Hoffman was charged with aggravated burglary in Tina Herrmann’s residence at 481 King Beach Drive, the Nussbaum burglary was not included in the indictments.
“An additional F4 burglary charge did not seem necessary considering Hoffman’s life sentence and that the property stolen from Nussbaum was returned,” Knox County Prosecutor John Thatcher told the News. “The focus of the case was on the Herrmann, Sprang and Maynard victims.”
According to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, there is no indication Hoffman was involved in any other burglaries in the area.
“Can we say he was involved in any other burglaries?” said Capt. David Shaffer of the sheriff’s office. “No. Can we say he wasn’t involved in any other burglaries? No. We don’t have any evidence. There were no other (stolen) items found in Hoffman’s residence.”
The question of Hoffman’s possible involvement in other burglaries stems from a number of incidents in the Beam’s Lake area, south of Mount Vernon last August and September.
Several incidents were reported including those of someone pounding on residents’ doors in the middle of the night and several burglaries.
On Aug. 3, the car of Jason Hughes of Millstone Lane was broken into when an iPod and two cell phones were taken. On Aug. 5, his house was burglarized. Another iPod, a cell phone, a Wii entertainment system with games and a jar of coins were taken.
“I called the sheriff’s office before Christmastime after I had heard the Nussbaums had items found in his home,” said Jason’s wife, Samantha. “The short answer is no. They did not find any of our items in Hoffman’s house. There are a lot of similarities to what happened to the (Herrmann’s) house prior to the murders to what was happening in our neighborhood. And it is a bit troubling that there was an indication that there might have been somebody helping him. That there might be somebody still out there — and we live so close (to Hoffman). We’ll probably never know.”