GPD ends burglary ring

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 9, 2007

A wave of burglaries at two Greenville apartment complexes ended recently when one adult and four juveniles were arrested by Greenville Police Officers.

According to Chief Investigator Sgt. Justin Lovvorn the burglaries occurred at Purdue Place Apartments and South Conecuh Street area apartments. Police investigators have worked the case since early January.

Lovvorn said the break in the case came from analysis of fingerprints and shoe prints taken at the different scenes.

&#8220Last week, I was able to identify several suspects in the cases,” he said.

&#8220The suspects were brought in and after a few days of interviews and evidence collection, four juveniles and one adult, Kery Smith, were charged with multiple burglaries in Perdue Place and in the South Conecuh Street area.

Also, Lovvorn recovered approximately half the items stolen in at least five different burglaries.

&#8220The stolen property was processed and released back to the victims,” he said.

Two of the juveniles were charged with five counts of burglary third degree and theft of property charges. The other two juveniles face one to two counts of burglary third degree.

Kery Smith, 21, was charged with burglary third degree and also faces charges of for receiving stolen property second degree, both Class C felonies.

&#8220These arrests have resulted in very positive feedback from area residents,” Lovvorn said. &#8220We request anyone witnessing a crime, please report it. Contact an investigator with the GPD and your call can remain anonymous.”

Another case of stolen property was solved by the GPD after a report was made by a South Street resident that someone had stolen lawn equipment valued at $675.

Lovvorn said he spoke with the victim who said he thought his property was in a pawn shop on South College Street. Sgt. Lovvorn visited the pawn shop and within two hours took the property into police custody, and after processing, was returned to the owner.

Robert Whatley, 42, was arrested a few days later and charged with theft of property and placed in the Butler County Jail.

Another theft case was solved when Sgt. Lovvorn recovered over $100 worth of items that were taken in a theft in the county on Aug. 2. The break in the case came due to another case Lovvorn was working involving forged instruments.

&#8220We were informed of several checks that had been passed at a local bank that had a forged signature on them” he said.

&#8220We visited the bank and reviewed the security cameras, as well as, interviewed the victim whose checks had been stolen and forged.”

On Aug. 3, Lovvorn obtained a warrant for James Mitchell Bedgood, 36, for three counts of forgery second degree. He and Officer Lebo Duke located Bedgood and arrested him that same.

&#8220It was at this time that several items that were reported to have stolen from a residence in the Hwy. 10 West area were recovered from Mr. Bedgood's residence,” Lovvorn said. &#8220Mr. Bedgood was placed in the Butler County Jail with a $30,000 bond.”

Along with all the other thefts, the GPD also received a report of identity theft, Lovvorn said.

When contacted, the victim told him her personal information, including her social security number, date of birth and other items were used to obtain credit cards.

&#8220After we investigated the case further, we found where the credit cards were to be sent,” he said.

&#8220Investigator Cpl. Brian Moseley assisted when we visited the residence.”

April Butler, 24, was picked up and interviewed. Afterwards, Lovvorn was able to charge her with identity theft, a Class C felony.

&#8220The suspect obtained the victim's personal information from her place of work and then tried to use that information to apply for credit cards over the Internet,” Lovvorn said.

Lovvorn said because of the fast action by the investigative team, an arrest was made quickly and the victim suffered no financial loss.

The Greenville Police Department encourages everyone to use caution when it comes to displaying their personal information and offered the following tips:

t Make sure that anyone who requests your Social Security number has a legitimate need for it.

t Never volunteer personal information over the phone unless you are absolutely sure of who you are talking to.

t If you are shopping and pay with a check make sure the check is filled out correctly and completely before you leave.

t Never leave a blank check with a business without watching and making sure it is filled out completely.

t Do not cash any check that is sent to you in the mail that you are not familiar with, because it is likely a fake and will come back. You will then have to place money in your account in order to pay the bank.

t If you receive something suspicious, bring it by the Greenville Police Department and let officers check it to make sure you don't get ripped off.