Teens charged with scrap metal thefts - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Teens charged with scrap metal thefts

May 8, 2008

Investigators from several agencies are trying to figure out if a group of teenagers made up a gang of thieves, that targeted farmers in multiple south Georgia counties.

On Saturday, a farmer's wife saw a group of crooks stealing from their farm on Ben Arthur Road in Terrell County. Her husband shot out a tire on the suspects' pickup truck.

Thieves are hitting farmers in Terrell and surrounding counties hard, stealing metal scraps and machine parts to sell for cold hard cash.

"Just going to these farmers shops now, that's our main problem taking their scrap iron, even parts that goes to their machinery, just getting stuff like that and it's just really getting bad here," said Sheriff John Bowens, Terrell County Sheriff's Office.

17-year-old Homer Tyson, David Payne, Rayan Edmonds Jr., and 18 year old Lindsey Purvis all ran. Authorities did track them down. They're now in jail charged with theft by taking.

18-year-old Dean Napolitano was also in the vehicle. He's now out on bond.

Payne also faces charges in a Lee County case.

"One of them was out for a short time, and re arrested because while he was in the process of being let out on bond then we found other items that they had taken from another farm, one in Terrell County and one in Lee County," said Sheriff John Bowens.

Investigators are working to connect the group to other similar thefts. They think at least some of the suspects sold stolen items to recycling companies in Albany.

"They were taking it to those scrap iron yards in Albany, and that's why we were able to arrest the other two right back because our investigator went down and found several items, well several slips that they had taken stuff down there," said Bowens.

Sheriff Bowens said on Thursday his office notified one farmer who was unaware items had even been stolen from his farm. He doesn't think the boys were working alone.

"I'm pretty sure they had some kind of connection with somebody in Terrell County to find these places that were burglarizing, and that stuff it just goes up into the thousands of dollars, and it's really hurting these farmers," said Bowens.

Hurting farmers who end up losing sometimes thousands of dollars because of crooks.

Terrell County Investigators are still working to figure out how many thefts the teenagers may have been involved in.

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