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Sutton’s gamble pays off with arrests of two lawnmower thieves

SunSouth, the John Deere dealer in Barnesville, has been hit multiple times by thieves who would pull up to the building with a rental trailer, load up expensive zero-turn mowers and flee. They were in and out in minutes and did a good job avoiding video surveillance. Investigators viewing the video from past heists had picked up enough of a trailer used in one theft to learn it had been rented in South Carolina. That, and a gamble by LCSO CID commander Capt. Jake Sutton, paid off with two arrests July 21. At 4:26 a.m., a motion detector at the dealership went off. Sgt. Sibley Norton responded and found a fence post on the ground and security chains cut. Sutton was on call and, when alerted, decided to not go to the dealership but hit the interstate toward South Carolina. ‘He went all the way to Anderson County, S.C. and turned around. Then he met the two suspect vehicles headed in the other direction,’ sheriff Brad White said. Sutton turned around, followed the vehicles and called 911. Deputies there arrived and one of the vehicles was stopped. It was hauling a rental trailer containing the stolen mowers. The other got away. James Bernard Potts, 55, and Charles Lindsey Perry, 46, both of Charlotte, N.C., were arrested and charged with felony theft by taking and criminal trespass. The two were being held in Anderson County and fighting extradition back here to face the charges against them. ’Jake took a chance and its paid off. It was outstanding investigative work,’ sheriff White concluded.

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