Multi-County Vehicle Theft Ring
By Jessie Williams
A Portland man has been arrested in connection with multiple vehicle thefts that span across at least four counties.
According to authorities, the investigation began in November 2019, when it was reported that a wrecker was stolen from Case Transmission, and then, just a few days later, that a 2019 Chevy truck was stolen from Sewell’s Tow Lot.
On December 9, 2019 Deputy Logan Swindle of the Macon County Sheriff’s Department was on patrol on Clampit Hollow when he pulled up on a vehicle matching the description of the truck stolen from Sewell’s. It was later confirmed by dispatch to be the stolen vehicle.
On December 10, 2019 another vehicle was reported stolen from Shrum’s Feed Supply, and on December 17, 2019 a 25-foot, enclosed trailer containing a 1923 model T cab car and a 1300 Honda VTX motorcycle was reported stolen from a location on Twins Lane in Macon County.
Nearby video surveillance showed the trailer being pulled by a tan hummer on December 16.
The Hummer was found to be stolen out of Allen County, Kentucky.
A BOLO was sent out by local law enforcement for the Hummer, which was found stuck in a field on Purtle Rd. with the trailer still attached.
A female individual – 25-year-old Kelsey Roberts – was found inside the Hummer.
Officers tracked footprints of a second subject to a nearby barn where they discovered 30-year-old Richard Fowler hiding in a loft.
The stolen trailer, motorcycle and model T were valued at around $150,000, and the stolen Hummer was valued at $49,000.
Roberts and Fowler were taken into custody and both charged with theft over $200,000.
Allen County authorities retrieved the Hummer, and the trailer was returned to its rightful owner.
The trail of stolen vehicles didn’t stop there, however.
Authorities also received information that there were more stolen items located at a residence on North Russel Rd. in Portland., where they located a vehicle stolen out of Clay County.
The truck stolen from Shrum’s Feed was found in Portland on London Lane and returned to its owner.
The wrecker stolen from Case Transmission was recovered in Sumner County last month as well.
Through their investigation more information was gathered that links Fowler to a stolen wrecker from Allen County and four campers that were stolen from Candy’s Campers in Allen County.
Two of the campers have since been recovered – one on Pleasant Grove Rd. in Westmoreland and the other on Epperson Springs Rd.
Roberts and Fowler are scheduled to appear in general sessions court on January 22, 2020. Their bonds were set at $200,000 and $225,000, respectively.
This investigation is considered ongoing, and additional charges are pending.
Macon County Sheriff Mark Gammons would like to thank the Lafayette Police Department, the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office the Clay County Sheriff’s Department for their assistance in this case.