Opp man charged, ATV ring alleged

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 13, 2014

An Opp resident was arrested Saturday morning in Coffee County in connection with what authorities believe to have been an ATV “chop shop” ring.



Levi Evin Barnes, 25, of 15494 Edgar Farm Road in Opp, was arrested around 6 a.m. Saturday by sheriff’s deputies, according to Coffee County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Ronnie Whitworth.

Whitworth said Wednesday that several ATVs were found in various stages of being dismantled at a Coffee County residence where Barnes is believed to have been staying, adding at least one of the vehicles is believed to have come from Covington County.

“We’ll know a little more next week,” Whitworth said. “I do know that there was a trailer that was from Covington County and there were pieces of an ATV, but I don’t know yet where it was from.”

Over the span of several months in late 2013, several ATVs and other equipment were reported stolen in Covington County, including golf carts and trailers from J.R.’s Lawnmower Shop in Opp. The arrests of four people on theft charges in Escambia County, Ala., in December were determined to be linked to the thefts, and some of the property was returned to the owners; however, shop owner Joe Richburg said one golf cart is still missing.

Whitworth said Barnes was also found to be in possession of meth at the time of his arrest. Barnes was charged with receiving stolen property I, possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) and possession of drug paraphernalia and booked into the Coffee County Jail.

Whitworth said more arrests are expected in the case and additional charges against Barnes may be filed, including possible charges from other agencies.