Crime news

A recent arrest has led to a confession that cleared up several outstanding cases of theft and vandalism in LaFayette.

Brandon Chase Lonas, 17 and Jacob Skylar Gammon, 23 were arrested Aug. 25 for breaking into an automobile.

An alert homeowner on South Cherokee Street noticed a man sitting in a black 2000 Dodge Dakota pickup truck with its lights off.

At first it appeared to be an ordinary cell phone conversation, but the homeowner quickly became suspicious as loud noise was followed by two males running from the residence, tossing something into the bed of the truck as the trio fled the area.

“Being a good citizen, she called 911 and reported the suspicious activity,” LaFayette police captain Stacey Meeks said.

At 2:07 a.m., authorities sent an officer to the residence where the incident occurred, notifying the owner and determining that several carpentry tools had been stolen.

Cpl. Stacy Blalock met the witness and was given a description of the vehicle and the three suspects.

The equipment had been taken from the toolbox of a Toyota Tacoma.

While patrolling the area, Blalock noticed the vehicle that had been described with a number of tools in the truck bed.

Blalock photographed the items in the bed and those visible within the truck at 307 Holliman St.

“He tried to make contact but couldn’t get anyone to come to the door,” Meeks said.

Blaylock returned later that same day, at 5:30 p.m., and interviewed Gammon, the owner of the Dodge Dakota.

He consented to a search of the vehicle and the residence, which were a conclusive match to the various items stolen, according to Meeks.

Two other unnamed teens were also questioned, a 17-year-old female and a 17-year-old male that were involved in the incident, and are cooperating with authorities.

The pair detailed Gammon’s and Lonas’ activities in recent weeks.

“We’ve had multiple vehicles in which holes were drilled in the gas tanks where gas was stolen,” Meeks said. “They (unnamed teens) confessed to throwing an object through the windshield of a moving vehicle.” A charge of aggravated assault is being sought for that incident.

Additional admissions included throwing an object from a moving vehicle and striking a person walking down the road.

“During the course of this interview they started confessing to all sorts of crimes that happened out in the county,” Meeks said, including multiple entering autos.

The teens also mentioned two recent vehicle thefts, a Toyota Tacoma and a GMC Denali.

“These guys confessed to stealing them, taking them up on a joyride to Mount Aetna and then actually burning them,” Meeks said. “They have done all sort of property damage, including county equipment damaged on Chamberlain Road, and entering autos all over the south end of the county — too numerous for me to list.”

LPD officials briefed the Walker County Sheriff’s Office of the confessed cases and further charges are pending.

Lonas and the unnamed 17-year-old were involved in the theft and destruction of vehicles from Cagle’s Used Car lot in June 2011, according to Meeks.