Monday burglaries hit

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 15, 1999

north end of county


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Dec. 14, 1999 11 PM

One or moves thieves went on a Pike County rampage in the early morning hours Monday, keeping the Pike County Sheriff’s Department hopping along U.S. Highway 231 near the Montgomery County line.

According to Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas, one or more suspects broke into Ed’s Barbecue about three miles south of the Montgomery County line, stealing an estimated 12 cases of beer.

Thomas said their frolic didn’t stop there.

Arriving at the scene, deputies found that the front glass had been knocked out. In the parking lot were two vehicles, one that had been sitting at the store and a van that had been reported stolen from the Elk’s Lodge on Rosa Parks Avenue on the west side of Montgomery.

Sitting beside the vehicles were two car batteries that Thomas said were taken from a nearby residence, probably in an attempt to crank the car that had been in the parking lot with a dead battery.

"Whoever did this had us hopping," Thomas said. "There was a little bit of everything going on out there."

Thomas believes the thief or thieves had car trouble at Ed’s Barbecue and decided to steal the car in the parking lot with a set of keys they found inside the store. When the keys failed to crank the vehicle, the culprit attempted to steal a car from the driveway of a local resident.

"At the home just a little bit away, there was a car that someone obviously tried to steal," Thomas said. "The steering column was damaged and the care was not driveable."

Upon failing to secure a fresh vehicle, the suspect or suspects went back to the van with a can that contained diesel and two car batteries from the home nearby – one of them coming from the car that had resisted theft. Thomas suspects the party also took a go-cart from the home and stole various tools.

"A go-cart was stolen from a home nearby and two car batteries stolen from the home were found near the stolen van," Thomas said. "It seems like these things were probably related."

Thomas believes the person or persons then decided to find another vehicle, which resulted in the theft of a white 1994 Ford F-150 pickup that was stacked with painting utilities including ladders, a ladder rack, air compressors and high-powered painting equipment.

The time of the incidents is suspected to be near the hour of 3 a.m.

According to Thomas, the suspect then made a stop at a store in Pine Level, en route back to Montgomery.

"None of the things taken from the store at Pine Level were at the barbecue location," he said. "It leads the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department to believe that the store was hit as the suspect or suspects headed back toward Montgomery."

Thomas said the burglaries are under investigation with cooperation from the Montgomery Police Department, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department and the Pike County Sheriff’s Department.

"They did a lot of damage in both counties and we are working together to catch the party responsible for these crimes," Thomas said.

Thomas and his office closed a case of gas drive-offs this week in the Henderson-Springhill area and plan to make an arrest in the case in the coming days. Thomas said the incidents seem to be unrelated to the weekend incident at Ed’s Barbecue and involve two gas drive-offs at the Chevron station at Springhill and another one at Paul’s Grocery in Henderson.

The suspects responsible for the incidents, Thomas believes, also robbed a residence on Route 2, Box 364 Troy where a .357 magnum handgun was taken.

"We should be bringing these people in soon," he said. "This is a case that was solved with the help of the local residents and the cooperation of individuals who were victimized."

Thomas said the rash of recent robberies is heightened during the holiday season and encourages residents to use common sense when it comes to locking things up.

"The holidays certainly don’t help," he said. "But things aren’t like they were 10 or even five years ago. People should be cautious about leaving their keys in their vehicles and their homes unlocked. We want people to lock up their valuables and keep their keys inside their homes when it comes to four-wheelers and other vehicles. Common sense will go a long way to prevent crime."