Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson announced Tuesday morning that the largest local theft and burglary ring in over a decade has been busted.
He also said that much of the stolen property from almost 100 thefts and burglaries has been recovered. These crimes occurred in Bradley County and Polk County.
A breakthrough in the investigation took place on Oct. 19, when patrol officers responded to a theft in progress call. The caller provided a description of the vehicle as well as a tag number.
Using this information, officers were able to find the vehicle and make an arrest. One of the suspects arrested was identified as 23-year-old Coty Shane Hardman, a Cleveland resident.
After multiple interviews with Hardman, the sheriff's office discovered that Hardman had been involved in many thefts and burglaries in the Bradley County and Polk County areas.
Officers said that Hardman had been selling the stolen items at several locations.
Sheriff Eric Watson said, "Crime doesn't see a county line, city line, or state line. If you commit a crime in Bradley County, we're coming after you."
Head of the Criminal Investigation Division Steve Lawson said that most of the items stolen were power tools and generators.
He also said the crimes started in 2013.
District Attorney Steve Crump praised the cooperation between the different law enforcement agencies.
He said, "It's a great example not just for the folks in our district but for law enforcement agencies all across the state."
The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office worked alongside both the Cleveland Police Department and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in the investigation of thefts and burglaries.