Local law enforcement busts up theft ring
Updated Thursday, Sept. 1 at 6:55 p.m.
What started as a search for items in one Lee County burglary has turned into a multi-county theft ring bust.
"We solved a multiple county wide burglary ring which was close to the range of $15,000 worth is where we're at right now," says Lee County Sheriff Reggie Rachals, whose team received help from the Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit and Albany Police Department.
The Lee County Sheriff's Office initiated an investigation after using a stolen computer's tracking device to locate the suspect involved in their case.
The Lee County Sheriff's Office did recover a man and woman's watches, a Dell computer, camcorder and pressure washer from a burglary in their county, but they found a lot more than that.
Flat screen TVs, laptops, two rifles, jewelry and Rolex watches were some of the items found along with a Georgia Southwestern Championship softball ring and trading cards. Some of the recovered property is from Webster and Terrell Counties.
What officers found in the suspect's car led them to think this is a bigger operation.
"The suspect also inside of his vehicle had two way radios and binoculars which was probably used during these burglaries," says Rachals. "A way to contact whoever may be inside the house, 'Somebody's coming up' or 'The law's around,' so that's a good contact."
Law enforcement says they were able to track down some owners easier because they recorded information about their property, and investigators say more people should do this in case of instances like this.
"The main thing that helps in the recovery process once a burglary has occurred at a citizen's home is that they make sure that they have some kind of marking on the property that they can identify when they are called down," says APD Media Manager Phyllis Banks. "We also encourage people to keep track of their serial numbers, take pictures of their property, documentation is very important."
Albany police officials say a laptop involved in a Lee County burglary belonged to Albany Fire Department Investigator Sam Harris.
Stay connected with FOX 31 News and MySouthwestGa.com as this story develops.
The Albany Police Department is taking the lead in the investigation of Wednesday's theft bust on Baldwin Drive, but APD is continuing to work jointly with the Lee County Sheriff's Office.
One person was charged in connection with the recovered stolen materials, but a name is not being released at this time until the investigation is complete.
Officers are still sorting through the recovered property, which holds an estimated $10,000 to $60,000 value.
Stay connected to FOX 31 News and MySouthwestGa.com for the latest details as they are made available.
The Lee County Sheriff's Office, the Albany Dougherty Drug Unit and Albany Police busted up what they say is a theft ring.
"Lee County developed some information based on a burglary they had in their county and some of the equipment had some tracking devices on them, some of the stolen computer equipment, and we were able to track it down to this address," says Maj. Bill Berry with ADDU.
Law enforcement recovered laptops, computers, flat screen TVs, jewelry and watches from the home at 509 Baldwin Drive on Wednesday beginning at 4:30 p.m.
Once officials found rifles under mattresses in the garage, they stopped their search to apply for an additional warrant. After obtaining that warrant, officers found an air conditioning unit.
Between six and eight people were detained and are being questioned by authorities. Children were in the house at the time of the bust, but are now with relatives. Berry says they expect names to be released on Thursday.
FOX 31 will update this story when more information becomes available.