By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A Casper woman and Evansville man who died as a result of a shootout with Nebraska law enforcement last weekend also stole more than $800 worth of propane tanks in Mills in the days leading up to their deaths, according to authorities.
According to the Mills Police Department, a theft occurred at the Salt Creek Homax in Mills on Feb. 17. When employees reported the theft later that day, they provided officers with surveillance camera footage.
The footage showed an adult male (later determined to be Christian Alexander) and an adult female (later determined to be Hailey Stainbrook) taking 14 Blue Rhino propane tanks, which were valued at $837.75.
The couple was seen arriving in a black GMC Yukon, loading the tanks into the vehicle and then leaving.
The Mills and Casper police departments collaborated together on this investigation, and the owner of the stolen GMC Yukon identified the vehicle after seeing stills of the footage on social media.
The vehicle owner also helped identify Alexander and Stainbrook.
The couple was killed while fleeing from officers in Lincoln, Nebraska, after allegedly stealing a man’s wallet at a hotel. Stainbrook apparently met the man via a social media app on Friday evening and spent some time with him at his hotel.
As the two were fleeing, an officer crashed his vehicle into theirs, stopping them. The officer then began exchanging gunfire with Alexander, according to police reports.
After Alexander was disabled, officers negotiated with Stainbrook for around seven minutes before she pointed a gun at law enforcement, prompting officers to shoot at her, reports said.
Stainbrook died at a hospital after surgery over the weekend and Alexander died Tuesday of his injuries. Officer Jesse Hilger, who shot the couple, will be placed on administrative leave until an internal investigation is completed.
The police have found to be justified in their shooting of Alexander and Stainbrook, however.
According to the Mills Police Department, a small portion of the stolen propane tanks have been located and the Yukon was returned to its owner after being found in Cheyenne.
No charges have been filed in the theft case, due to the investigation being in its preliminary stages.