Theft victim understands the need for vigilante justice - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Theft victim understands the need for vigilante justice

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

July 31, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The victim of a car break-in says Albany police didn't do enough to solve the crime, even though he tried to help them.

His belongings were stolen from the same place where a suspected thief was gunned down this week. Chase McReynolds says he understands why a gunman took justice into his own hands. The Warner Robins man was in Albany on business three weeks ago when a thief stole thousands of dollars of tools.

Albany Police say there have been four reported car break-ins at Comfort Suites since January. What happened across the parking lot Tuesday morning at the Quality Inn got the attention of Chase McReynolds whose work truck was broken into here three weeks ago. After what he's been through trying to track down the man who stole from him, he understands why John Underwood used his gun.

As a generator technician Chase McReynolds travels from New Orleans to Jacksonville and everywhere in between. Three weeks ago while he worked in Albany, someone broke into his truck and stole tools, a GPS device, and a cell phone.

"This was the window they actually broke out and they just popped the lock open and at that point they ransacked all the shelving and stuff to try and look for stuff that was more expensive. Tools were in this area, they grabbed all of them," said McReynolds.

Hoping to catch the crook, he left his cell phone on. His wife even talked to the thief who admitted to stealing Chase's tools and told her there was nothing they could do. They hoped Albany police might help.

"I gave all of the information over to the police department. All you have to do is track it, make a phone call, do whatever, the suspect keeps using the phone, used it like it was his regular phone," said McReynolds.

In the nearly three weeks that the suspect had the phone. Chase left it on and that suspect racked up nearly 800 phone calls, but not one of them was from the Albany police.

"They haven't tried to do anything with it. That was actually coming from the detective on the case, he hasn't done anything with the phone," said McReynolds.

McReynolds says Verizon told him earlier this week they hadn't heard from Albany Police. Police will only say they are now working with Verizon to try to locate the suspect even though the phone has been turned off. Chase is pretty sure he'll never see those tools again and after hearing what happened Tuesday morning in the parking lot of the Quality Inn he sympathizes with the man who did take action to stop someone he thought was a thief.

"What do you do nobody else is doing anything to stop this so I feel for the person who is in jail now, he's just trying to take care of business," said McReynolds.

Albany Police want you to know they've stepped up efforts at hotels throughout the city with special patrol details that have specifically targeted hotel parking lots for the last several months in an effort to prevent car break-ins. They're also actively pursuing Chase's case as well.

Chase McReynolds told us all of his more expensive tools were engraved with his initials JCM to help identify them in case they ever were stolen.

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