Deputy Offers Ideas
To Homeowners For
BY KEN LITTLE
Crime has been taking no holiday this Thanksgiving week in Greene County.
Many reported burglaries and thefts are fueled by individuals desperate for money to feed their drug habits, law enforcement authorities say.
Five people were taken into custody Tuesday and Wednesday by the Greene County Sheriff's Department in connection with recent burglaries, Sheriff Steve Burns said.
He stated that more arrests are imminent in several cases.
But local property crimes continue at a disturbing rate.
"In my opinion, the majority of them [the perpetrators] are supporting a drug habit, and some of them are simply looking for an easy way to make money," sheriff's Detective Lt. Jeff Morgan said.
While arrests are regularly made, new burglaries are reported every week.
"I think it's a never-ending rotation of people going through the system," Morgan said.
Here are some of the crimes reported this week to sheriff's deputies in Greene County:
* A burglary that occurred Monday on Jesleigh Court occurred the same day the homeowner died, a report said. A caretaker told deputies she left the property to take her children to school, and when she returned, she noticed missing property
Stolen were a crate full of tools and a circular saw. The value of the stolen property exceeds $600.
* A burglary happened between Friday night and Saturday morning in the 800 block of Jim Fox Road. The owner of the house is deceased, and the burglary was reported Monday by a relative.
Stolen were an air compressor, a flat-screen television, a Husqvarna weed-trimmer, a Craftsman cordless drill, a DeWalt drill, a bag of hand tools, Snap-On wrenches, motorcycle chaps and other property.
The value of the stolen items is more than $3,200.
* Four aluminum sliding bundles and a bench vise were stolen between Oct. 19 and Sunday from a property in the 800 block of Hartman Lane, the owner reported Monday to deputies.
Two possible male suspects were found "cutting a path from the neighbor's property through the woods to his property," a report said.
The aluminum and bench vise are together valued at $350.
* The front door was found unlocked and a window was broken out to provide entry to an apartment between Nov. 10 and Monday, Nov. 19, in the 1800 block of Main Street in Mosheim, a report said.
The victim, who was out of town when the crime occurred, told deputies the apartment was "ransacked." Possessions stolen include three flat-screen television sets, a Toshiba laptop computer, clothing, liquor, and snowboarding clothing and accessories.
The stolen property is valued at over $5,500. A "huge hole" was kicked in a bedroom door, the report said.
* A house being renovated in the 400 block of Huff Lane was burglarized between Sunday night and Monday, a report said.
Taken from a barn and basement under construction were three chain saws, a stainless steel tank, a white cast-iron bathtub, a stainless steel milking can, copper heat exchanges, a log chain, an English saddle, a cavalry saddle and a calf-puller.
The value of the stolen property exceeds $2,200. While a deputy was filling out a report, he got a call from the victim, who said some of the stolen items were located at West Main Recycling.
5 IN CUSTODY
Sheriff's department detectives made five arrests Tuesday and Wednesday in connection with several of the burglaries and earlier break-ins, Sheriff Burns said in information released Wednesday afternoon.
Three men were charged with burglary in connection with the thefts from Huff Lane, Burns said.
Charged were Jessie D. Wilhoit, 23, of 566 Hartman Lane; Mitchell R. Wilhoit, 33, of 180 Decatur St.; and Jeffery A. Ricker, 39, of 105 Decatur St.
Additional charges are pending on the three suspects, Burns said.
Some property stolen from the Huff Lane address has been recovered, Burns said.
Jamie C. Turner, 32, of 245 Porter Kite Road, Mohawk, and Tiffanie Turner, 25, of 115 Dodson Pike, Mohawk, were both charged with two counts each of aggravated burglary in connection with residential burglaries in the 100 block of Dodson Pike, Burns said.
One incident that occurred on Nov. 10 that was reported to sheriff's deputies involved the theft of a FedEx package from the porch of a house.
The package contained a Canon camera, a lens and a camera bag, together valued at more than $680, a report said.
Three other suspects were involved in the residential burglaries the Turners were charged with, Burns said.
"They have been identified, and charges will be forthcoming," he said.
There are ways to discourage criminals, Morgan said.
"I'm an absolute advocate of alarm systems. Not a silent alarm system, something that makes a lot of noise," he said.
Morgan also suggested outside lighting and using a sturdy safe.
"If you have an extra car, put the car in your driveway," he said. "(Burglars) don't want to knock on your door if somebody's home."
Neighbors can also be of assistance.
"Talk to your neighbors. People see things they might not think are important," Morgan said. "Watch out for your neighbors. If you see a suspicious car in the neighborhood or a suspicious person in the neighborhood, call us."
The Greene County Sheriff's Department telephone number is (423) 798-1800.
Morgan recommends that homeowners photograph their property and write down serial numbers of possessions such as flat-screen televisions and computers.
"There are the things that allow us to put these stolen items into a national database," Morgan said.
"Take the time to snap a few photographs or videotape the property. Anything that would help us to identify their property would make a big difference," he added.
Law enforcement officials appreciate the assistance.
"It's getting harder and harder to deal with property crimes because they are so vast and so many. We just want to get people to help themselves," Morgan said.