CCSO makes burglary arrests

Marisa Anders Editor

September 24, 2013

Officers with the Claiborne County Sheriff’s Office have been working to continue the investigations into several burglaries from the Speedwell area into the New Tazewell areas.

Investigations into burglaries have led detectives into the Harlan, Ky., area as well as the Barbourville, Ky., area for recovered stolen items, according to the officers.

Charges have been filed against several individuals as a result of these investigations.

According to Det. Tim Shrout and Det. Josh Russell, property stolen from Haymaker Farm in Speedwell was recovered in Harlan, Ky. That property included a generator, chainsaw and a large gas-powered sump pump.

Billy Wayne Wynn, 33, of Evarts, Ky., and George Vincent Rice, 37, of Putney, Ky., were arrested and charged in connection to that case. Both were charged with aggravated criminal trespassing and burglary.

Wynn and Rice were also arrested Aug. 30 at a sobriety checkpoint after allegedly burglarizing a Speedwell lot, then attempting to steal an ATV from the home of a Claiborne County commissioner. They were arrested at the U.S. 25E tunnel after evidence was found linking them to the late night thefts, police said.

Police said at about 10 p.m., Claiborne County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Gary Ruszkowski was called to the Eighth Judicial Drug Task Force seizure lot where he discovered a green ATV, valued at $4,500, discarded outside the security fence.

Upon investigation, Ruszkowski noticed a hole in the fencing and fresh footprints in the wet grass nearby. He and Eighth Judicial Drug Task Force Director Melvin Bayless, who had been called to the scene, then discovered a broken lock on an enclosed trailer sitting inside the lot.

A Stanley tool set, valued at $50, and a $15 vanity license plate were missing.

Meanwhile, an E-911 call alerted Ruszkowski to a theft in progress at the Harrogate home of Claiborne County Commissioner Steve Mason.

According to police, two men fitting the description of his suspects of interest allegedly attempted to steal a red 2000 model Honda Foreman 400, valued at $4,000, from the Mason residence. A neighbor, who witnessed the alleged incident, saw the two men leave the scene in a white, older model Chevrolet Blazer pulling a trailer.

Ruszkowski said he alerted the officers at the sobriety checkpoint. Bayless arrived to witness evidence pulled from the Blazer. Two sets of bolt cutters, gloves and a head-worn flashlight were found under the seat. The tool set and license plate were also discovered inside the vehicle.

Wynn and Rice were arrested and charged with vandalism, larceny and theft of property for the seizure lot incident and criminal trespassing, burglary, vandalism and theft over $1,000 for the incident at Mason’s home.

Property stolen from a house in the Forrest Hills subdivision in New Tazewell was recovered in Barbourville, Ky., and included large televisions, computers and game systems.

Arrested and charged in that case were Kayla Danielle Johnson, 22, of Tazewell, and Kevin Wayne Runles, 24, of Harrogate. They were charged with aggravated burglary and criminal trespassing.

Both Shrout and Russell urge everyone to use the new ReportIt system to keep an online inventory of personal property. It’s free and accessible from anywhere. You can register your property at reportit.leadsonline.com. The system also helps law enforcement recover stolen property faster than before, they said.

If you have any information on area burglaries and thefts, you are asked to call the Claiborne County Sheriff’s Office at 423-626-3385.

Staff writer Jan Runions contributed to this article.

Reach Marisa Anders at manders@civitasmedia.com or 423-626-3222.