Officials find stolen supplies in Hoke County

May 29, 2008 9:07:55 PM PDT
A huge theft ring involving hundreds of thousands of dollars in stolen air conditioning units, may be connected to a well known Hoke County businessman.

On Thursday, deputies carried off more than $200,000 worth in air conditioning units. They say the 68 units were stolen from homes, churches and businesses within a 100 mile radius.

Officers found the stolen AC units in a makeshift salvage yard of new and used building materials. Deputies confirmed that power tools and other equipment found in the yard were also stolen. They say a lot of material was being re-sold.

So far investigators say they can trace a lot of the stolen merchandise back to dozens of reported larcenies and break-ins.

"We have had a rash of AC's coming up stolen here in the county. We have had some suspects we have been watching and we followed a tip which led us here," Hoke County Sheriff's Department Captain John Kivett said. "We were able to confirm stolen property we used that to get a search warrant we are conducting our second day of search now."

Deputies say charges are pending.

According to the Sheriff, the property belongs to Hoke County Real Estate Broker Tommy Wright, who lives next door. But when Eyewitness News tried to talk with Wright, he got into his car saying his lawyer told him not to talk and he drove off.

"The thing is we have a job to do, that's what we are looking at. We don't want to get caught up on who it is what they got," Sheriff Hubert Peterkin said. "The thing is we have a situation here that has been confirmed illegal and we are going to do our job."

Neighbors around the Dudley Road property say they were surprised by the Sheriff's Department's search. They also said there was always a lot of traffic going into and out of the supply yard.

Peterkin says officers are going after not only the ring of thieves who stole the property, but also people that knowingly bought or traded for hot merchandise.

"So I don't want people to feel like ? be surprised when we come knocking on their door because from my understanding of this investigation, there has been a lot of trading going on at this location," he said.


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