In Dec. 4 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
A rash of gas station break-ins and auto thefts over the past few days have law enforcement officials on their toes and on the lookout in Russell County and others, according to Sheriff Larry Bennett.
Bennett said the first break-in occurred early last Saturday at 1:19 a.m. when Deputy Jeremy England responded to an alarm call from the Lake Cumberland Country store south of Jamestown toward the state park.
Upon arriving at the scene minutes later England witnessed how entry had been gained through the front door and around 30 cartons of cigarettes had been stolen, according to Bennett.
The sheriff said video surveillance showed that a Ford Explorer with two hooded males had left the store’s parking lot and headed north on U.S. 127. Around 5:30 a.m. Saturday, Bennett said this same vehicle was found burning near the Greasy Creek Bridge. The Ford Explorer had been reported stolen from Clinton County
Then last Sunday, another early morning call, this time around 2 a.m., to the sheriff’s office was the result of the alarm sounding at the Jacko’s in the One Stop Plaza on U.S. 127, according to Sheriff Bennett. England again responded to the scene and found that entry had been gained in the same fashion as the day before, through the front entrance.
More than 50 cartons of cigarettes were taken in this incident as well, according to Sheriff Bennett.
Bennett said that two more vehicles were also stolen that may be connected to these incidents. Within a couple of miles from the second break-in near Webbs Crossroads a vehicle was stolen Sunday morning that belonged to Greg Dick. That vehicle was later found in the Moore Schoolhouse road area, according to the sheriff.
Another vehicle, this time a 2001 Ford F-150 pickup, was stolen from the French Valley community on Sunday around 6:50 p.m.
That truck was found late Monday afternoon in a lot off of Jericho Road north of Russell Springs, according to Deputy Nick Bertram.
The black Ford truck was registered to Robert Helton of Russell Springs. Deputy Lee Smith had been working that vehicle theft.
Then, a third gas station break-in occurred early Monday morning at the Dog Walk Market in Dunnville, according to Bennett who had been in contact with Casey County Sheriff Jerry Coffman. The front entrance had been broken into and an undisclosed amount of cigarette cartons were taken, just as they had in the previous Russell County break-ins.
Surveillance video at the Dog Walk Market showed that two hooded males were responsible for the burglary, the same manner as in the Lake Cumberland Country Store break-in.
Reports from neighboring Adair County say that a vehicle from Columbia was stolen last Friday, taken to Albany in Clinton County and wrecked there.
Sheriff Bennett said it is believed that all break-ins are connected and that the investigations by his office continue into all three as well as the vehicle thefts. Law enforcement officials from the other county’s also continue with their theft investigations.
Bennett urges anyone having information about any of these incidents to call the Russell County Sheriff’s Office at 270-343-2191 or the Russell County 911 Dispatch Center at 270-343-6600.
Station owners from the business broken into are offering a $500 reward for information that leads to the arrests and convictions of the perpetrators that committed the break-ins and thefts.