Serial thief behind bars - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Serial thief behind bars

By Justin Hanson - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

COVINGTON, TN (WMC-TV) - After a nearly two month long investigation, Tipton County sheriff's deputies have put a serial thief behind bars, and now the man faces charges in two counties.

Lawn mowers, boat motors, and power tools are just a few of the items recovered by deputies after the arrest of what they're calling a serial thief.

"It was a fairly large operation they had going on, fairly consistent," Detective Chris Williams with the Tipton County Sheriff's Department said.

"Basically, anything that they could pull up in a driveway, they could see that wasn't nailed down, they'd walk off with," Tipton County Sheriff's Department Deputy Chief Donna Turner added.

Officers say Christopher Brown is responsible for over 30 thefts of lawn equipment in Tipton County, Shelby County and in Munford.  Brown's friend, David Whittamore, is charged as an accomplice in the case.

"Some of it was loose property," Williams said. "Some of it they did use bolt cutters to locked property."

Police say the pair never stole anything from inside houses.  Instead, they grabbed anything they could from sheds, carports, or driveways.

"We always see a rash of this, especially in the beginning of the summer, with lawn mowers, weed eaters, those kind of things because people are becoming more active," Turner said.

Deputies say this kind of theft is a crime of opportunity because the equipment is often not locked up.

"I don't know if you can prevent it, but a good way to help us is to take the serial numbers down off items especially tools," Williams said.

And thanks to a citizen with a watchful eye, police say a career criminal is now behind bars.

Both Brown and Whittamore are currently in custody in Shelby County.  They will face the charges in Tipton County charges after that.

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