Mysterious safe found near Owassa

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Investigators with the Conecuh and Covington County Sheriff’s Departments were searching for ans-wers earlier this week in a case that invo-lved a mysterious safe that was discovered at Owassa.

Acc-ording to Conecuh County Sheriff Edwin Booker, an unnamed man discovered the safe Monday morning in a wooded area off Conecuh County Road 44 at Owassa.

“When the man first saw it, he couldn’t see the whole thing, and he thought it was a lightweight metal cabinet,” Booker said. “He walked down there and sort of kicked it, and it didn’t budge because it was so heavy.”

When the man saw that it was a safe, he called the Sheriff’s Department, and deputies went to the scene and recovered the safe, Booker said.

The safe, which was too heavy for deputies to carry, was found near the bottom of a hill, so deputies had to push it end-over-end to the top of the hill, Booker said. From there, the safe was transported to the Conecuh County Jail in Evergreen.

The door to the Sentry brand safe, which had a combination lock, was closed and locked, so deputies had to call in a locksmith to open the safe, Booker said. Investigators couldn’t determine the name of the owner from the safe’s exterior, Booker said.

To make matters more difficult, the safe’s identification number had been

scraped off the back, Booker said.

“If we’d had the identification number, we could have called the

manufacturer, who would have been able to give us either the combination or

told the locksmith exactly where to drill in order to open the safe,” Booker

said. “They only give that out to licensed locksmiths, but since we didn’t

have the ID number, this wasn’t an option.”

In all, it took the locksmith about an hour to open the safe, Booker said.

Once open, investigators found a wide variety of items inside the fireproof safe, including a credit card machine, rosary beads, photographs, loose change, a portable compact disc player, baseball cards, basketball cards, shotgun shells, a birth certificate and a diploma.

Documents inside the safe indicated that the safe belonged to Daniel Allen Miller of Red Level, Booker said. During the ensuing investigation, deputies learned that Miller was in the Covington County Jail, where he was being held for probation violation and on charges of hindering prosecution. As of Tuesday, Miller had been in the Covington County Jail in Andalusia for 19 days, ever since his arrest on Fri., March 16.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Sheriff’s departments in Conecuh and Covington counties were working together to unravel the mystery behind the safe’s discovery in Conecuh County.

“There are a number of unusual aspects to this case,” Booker said. “The safe is more like what you’d see in a business. It’s kind of unusual to see a private person with a safe like this. Hopefully, by this time next week, we’ll have a few more answers.”

Deputies also thought it was strange that evidence inside the safe indicated that rats had somehow gotten inside, especially since investigators couldn’t determine exactly how they’d managed to do so, Booker said.

Individuals with information about the safe are asked to contact the Conecuh County Sheriff’s Department at 578-1260 or the Covington County Sheriff’s Department at 334-428-2640.