Police stop theft ring spanning two states - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Police stop theft ring spanning two states

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MASSAC COUNTY (WSIL) -- Local, state, and federal investigators have worked months to track down suspects related to series of thefts. This week, arrests were made in Metropolis and more could be possible.  

On Monday, nearly a dozen law enforcement officers surrounded a home outside Metropolis in the 2900 block of North Avenue. 

Inside sheds on the property, police found dozens of high priced stolen items like power tools, generators and car parts. 

"This bumper was also an item that we believe to have been taken off a vehicle that was stolen and ultimately scrapped for profit," said Investigator Jori DeNeve. 

Lead Investigator DeNeve says the case kicked into high gear back in April when a stolen excavator was found. 

"It was painted and stored locally here in Massac County and when we discovered it, we continued to discover more items," said DeNeve. 

Police believe that excavator was used to dig a large hole somewhere behind the house for the purpose of burying evidence.

"We noticed it was very large in nature and, at that time, there were not many items in the bottom. Upon our arrival yesterday, we noticed that it was full," said DeNeve. 

The Sheriff's Department decided to dig up the hole and found scrap metal and car parts covered in oil and sludge. 

DeNeve says it was pure intuition and the hard work of many agencies that led to the find. She says after talking with people who had items stolen, she realized in many cases there was a connection.

"I learned that they were connected as friends or as acquaintances, so I figured that maybe they had something to do with what was going on," said DeNeve. 

The Sheriff expects to soon charge two people who are currently jailed on unrelated charges.

Investigator DeNeve says she believes 10-12 cars were stolen. They are now working to find the owners of the stolen items. 

The Massac County Sheriff's Office conducted the joint investigation with the McCracken County Sheriff's Office, The Metropolis Police Department, Paducah Police Department, FBI, and the Illinois Secretary of State Police.

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