ECSO uncovers stolen property
By By Kerry Whipple Bean
For some Escambia County residents, what seemed like a good deal on a four-wheeler or other grown-up toy may actually have involved stolen property.
Sheriff’s investigators announced Tuesday that they have uncovered a cache of stolen property — including an RV stolen from a Baldwin County dealer in 2007 — and are looking for a suspect from Riverview in the case.
Officials from multiple county agencies had a hand in the investigation, Sheriff Grover Smith said.
Officials said Tuesday that they are in the process of obtaining warrants for Mark Harrison, 38, of Mayflower Lane in Riverview, on a charge of first-degree receiving stolen property.
Investigators estimated the value of the stolen property — which includes four-wheelers, motorcycles, trailers and the RV — at more than $300,000.
The investigation began when Sgt. Adam Johnson received a tip about the possible location of stolen four-wheelers on Upper Creek Road. When Johnson went to the residence, he saw one four-wheeler in plain view, then asked property owners for permission to search the vehicle.
Johnson determined the four-wheeler had been stolen from Century Marine during a break-in last December. After obtaining a search warrant, investigators discovered two more four-wheelers and two motorcycles at the same residence, whose owner is cooperating with authorities.
Three residences in Riverview and East Brewton were searched during the investigation, and several people who were in possession of the items are cooperating with the sheriff’s department, Johnson said.
Other items recovered included: a Harley Davidson motorcycle that had been stripped; the 2004 Fleetwood motor home; a 26-foot enclosed vehicle hauler; an 18-foot utility trailer; an 8-foot utility trailer; and a Kawasaki dirt bike. Property was taken from Escambia County, Escambia County, Fla., Santa Rosa County and Baldwin County.
The VIN numbers of the property had been altered and changed.
Johnson said Harrison acted as a “barterer” for most of the items.
The motor home was never traded; Harrison had allowed someone to live in the vehicle.
Johnson and Chief Deputy Mike Lambert encouraged any individual who may have received property from Harrison to contact the sheriff’s department at 251-809-0741 to have that property checked out.
Lambert said receiving stolen property is a crime.
Smith said officials are working to identify the items and return them to the rightful owners.
Smith said the investigation is “a long way from being through.”
Smith said he was proud of the officers involved in the case.
Helping in the investigation were the Santa Rosa and and Escambia County, Fla., sheriff’s departments; the East Brewton Police Department; Flomaton Police Department K9 officer Jason Bondurant; investigators Tammy Busby, Frank Way, Greg Forbes, Brandon Burkett, Geoff McGraw and Matt Hammon; and crime scene technician Janet Richburg.