Brooks Houck indicted on theft charges in Nelson County

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Brooks Houck was released from jail Thursday morning.

The Nelson County man was named the main suspect in the disappearance of Bardstown mother Crystal Rogers, but he never was never charged in that case.

Houck's arrest Wednesday is not connected to Rogers, according to Bardstown Police Chief Kim Kraeszig. He was indicted on theft charges.

Houck faces four felony theft counts and four misdemeanor theft charges. According to court documents, he is accused of taking more than 200 "bundles" of roofing shingles from Lowe's over the course of three days in April.

Kraeszig said the department started investigating when the loss prevention department from Lowe's contacted detectives. She said the investigation led them to arresting Houck.

"We took that investigation and conducted a financial search warrant at his residence," Kraeszig said.

On Wednesday evening, officials from local, state and federal agencies were seen coming and going from Houck's home in Bardstown for about an hour. At least one witness said shingles were taken away from the home as well as three evidence bags and a computer modem.

"It was strange," said Sammy Johnson, who witnessed the search. "This was supposed to be about shingles. And why do you have the federal agents that are searching? This ain't about shingles, I don't think. I think it's bigger."

Kraeszig said the search warrant was not tied to Rogers' disappearance and that detectives were searching for very specific evidence.

"We were looking for financial records in relation to the theft charges," Kraeszig said, adding that she couldn't get into specifics of an active investigation.

Rogers' family said, all the same, they were happy to hear Houck was arrested.

"The police have told me that it's not connected," said Sherry Ballard, Rogers' mom. "And I get that. He got in trouble for theft. But to me, there is a connection. Because it'll show them what kind of person Brooks really is."

Ballard still hopes detectives will find something more than financial evidence in whatever they seized from Houck's home.

"Maybe deep down, it's going to help with Crystal's case," she said.

Houck was released from jail Thursday morning. WDRB News checked at his home, but a woman answering the door said he was not there. Ballard said she was disappointed to hear he got out of jail.

"Of course I would've loved to see him in there forever, but I'm just happy that he went," Ballard said.

She said she had a feeling that Houck would easily get out of jail, but she hopes he doesn't get away with it.

"I'm actually shocked that he was even arrested at all," Ballard said. "So I'm praying they're going to do what they need to do and give him the maximum of what he deserves."

Kraeszig said, if he's found guilty, all the charges could total a maximum of 20 years behind bars.

Houck was initially set at $25,000 full cash bond Wednesday when he was arrested. He was also given a dusk to dawn curfew, with the only exceptions to be work, medical appointments or family emergencies.

But Thursday morning, a judge changed the $25,000 from "full cash" to "unsecured." As a result, Houck signed himself out and left the jail just before 9 a.m. If he fails to appear in court on Aug. 2, he could face other charges and be required to pay the $25,000 bond.

Houck was also ordered to have no contact with Lowe's. 

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