Pecan thieves lead deputies on high speed chase

Pecan thieves lead deputies on high speed chase
Pecans cost close to $3 a pound
Pecans cost close to $3 a pound
Pecan grove at Knight Pecans Inc.
Pecan grove at Knight Pecans Inc.

OCHLOCKNEE, GA (WALB) - Three suspected thieves are charged with stealing thousands of dollars worth of pecans from a Thomas County farm.

The search continues for a fourth person.

Pecan farmers say they see a definite increase in theft around this time of year, especially with the price of pecans nearing $3 a pound.

Many have security cameras set up to catch thieves in the act.

Julian Knight, owner of Knight Pecans Inc. said, “Cameras are a very big asset to what we do.  A lot of times the camera will keep the honest person honest.”

Early Monday morning, Thomas County Sheriff's deputies set up surveillance at a pecan farm in Ochlocknee, after the owner previously saw three people stealing bags of pecans from his wagons.

Thomas County Sheriff's Office Chief Investigator Lieutenant Tim Watkins said, “Three people got out and proceeded to bring their own bags and their own buckets. They were taking the buckets and dipping them into the bins, filling up the bags, and putting the bags into the car.”

But when deputies turned on their blue lights to attempt to stop the suspects, they got in their car and sped off.

Lieutenant Watkins added, “And a small, short high-speed chase ensued.”

There are still tire marks visible where the three suspects led deputies through this cotton field.

Lieutenant Watkins said, “They abandoned their vehicle, ran into the woods, and they were captured later by the deputies.”

Johnny Johnson, Jeffery Williams, and Marcus Wright are now charged with felony eluding and felony theft by taking.

They stole more than 1,000 pounds of nuts.

Investigators are still looking for a fourth suspect.

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