Two arrested after multi-county theft, burglary spree
by Wes Mayer
A man suspected of being responsible for a theft and burglary spree which started in Meriwether County was arrested by authorities in Lamar County last week – a woman he was with was also arrested in Cherokee County.
“This crime spree encompassed the counties of Fayette, Coweta, Pike, Spalding, Lamar, Cherokee and Meriwether County, Georgia,” said Meriwether County Sheriff Chuck Smith. “Information obtained through our investigation revealed that Owens along with cohorts had been stealing property in and around our jurisdiction as well as from the north Georgia mountains to Florida.”
The spree began around June 6, when the main suspect, Billy Lee Owens Jr., stole two large box trucks and a large amount of tools from Complete Truck in Gay, GA, according to Smith. The stolen items were valued at $100,000.
A description of a female suspect, later identified as Glenda Deeann Duncan, was also obtained through witnesses, along with her vehicle’s tag number. This vehicle was linked to a burglary that occurred at Sutherland Farms on Ga. Highway 85 south of Haralson, Smith said.
On June 10, authorities were able to locate one of the stolen box trucks in a wooded area off Mt. Carmel Road in Gay with the help of tipster information, Smith said. The truck was recovered, but was partially burned and damaged. Nearby, in the woods, authorities also found remnants of a meth lab.
Also on June 10, a burglary was reported on Mt. Carmel Road, during which around $7,000 worth of lawn equipment was stolen, Smith said. Investigators found evidence which linked the stolen box truck to this burglary.
Information on the suspects was put out statewide, Smith said, and on June 17, the stolen box truck was involved in a pursuit in Cherokee County with U.S. marshals – the U.S. Marshal’s Office was also after Owens for numerous crimes. During this pursuit, Owens, who was driving, collided with one of the marshals and shots were fired. Owens ended up wrecking the box truck, but fled the scene on foot. The passenger of the vehicle, Duncan, was taken into custody.
Inside the box truck, authorities found two of the items which were reported stolen in the Mt. Carmel Road burglary. Duncan was extradited to the Meriwether County Jail and was charged with two counts of theft, two counts of burglary and arson.
Two days later, Owens stole two other vehicles and was involved in two separate pursuits. He ended up wrecking one of these vehicles in Lamar County, and was taken into custody and sent to the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office.
Owens was then picked up by Meriwether County authorities on June 19, and he was charged with two counts of theft of a motor vehicle and one count of burglary. Owens was transported back to the Fayette County Jail to be picked up by authorities in Cherokee County. After that, he was picked up by the U.S. Marshals for federal charges.
According to Smith, Owens was release from prison in February this year. Smith believes Owens may be linked to more offenses in Meriwether County, and authorities are still tracking down leads.
“I appreciate the work by my personnel in helping bring these cases to a swift conclusion,” Smith said. “Corporal Nash, Deputy Holland and the Patrol Division worked diligently on these cases. I definitely appreciate the witnesses coming forward and providing us with valuable real time information that was of tremendous help.”