Theft victims get their belongings back
Franklin County Times
Several victims of a recent rash of storage building thefts reported to the Ralph Bishop Recreation Center Friday in an attempt to collect the items taken from their rented warehouses.
The items recovered from the alleged thieves were placed in small piles on the floor of the recreation center gym.
Russellville Police Chief Chris Hargett said victims came as early as 8 a.m. to collect their belongings, or at least what is left of them.
Bonnie McCollum lost a small fortune to the burglars and spent much of her Friday searching through each pile of items, hoping to find some of what was taken from her.
"I lost between $20,000 to $25,000 worth of belongings," McCollum said.
Her storage building was burglarized three times, and she said some of the lost items cannot be replaced.
Another victim, Tina King, said she and her family lost almost everything in the thefts, including appliances and irreplaceable sentimental items.
"We went to the storage building to get our Christmas ornaments out to put up the tree," King said. "It had been raining all morning, and when we got there, we found some of our ornaments on the ground, and they were dry."
She said the worst thing about the theft is knowing that it just had happened prior to her arrival at the building site.
Victims Dan and Sarah Terry also searched the piles and found several of their items, which were stolen while the couple stored their things in preparation for a move.
"How dare they," Sarah asked in anger as she picked up some sheets marked for sale at $1.
Investigators said many of the stolen items were sold at yard sales or on eBay, depending on each item's value.
"Haleyville Police Department has recovered two to three times more than this," Hargett said.
Haleyville will also designate a day that victims can come and collect more items.
The theft case is estimated to have at least 20 victims, if not more. While police have made two arrests in this case, their investigations are not complete, More charges could be pending, and more arrests could be made in the case.