BY DEWEY MORGAN
The Daily-Post Athenian
DECATUR-As much as $500,000 worth
of stolen property has been recovered at a residence in Meigs County
by officials from six counties, according to Meigs County Sheriff
Goods were stolen from people
throughout the region over an unknown period of time and were being
stored on the property of Michael and Winter Kirby.
Both husband and wife have been
arrested and charged with theft, according to Melton. He said that
they face six counts of theft between $10,000 and $50,000 in Meigs
County alone, and certainly will face more charges moving forward.
Melton estimated that the value of all
the stolen property uncovered ranged between $200,000 and $500,000.
According to authorities on the scene,
the Kirbys were apparently building a lakeside cabin and a bathroom
in the woods with some of the stolen property.
Officials from 10 different police
agencies -Athens, McMinn County, Meigs County, Rhea County,
Dayton, Decatur, Madisonville, Polk County, Bradley County and Monroe
County- were on hand throughout the day Tuesday to wade through
the piles of stolen property and claim items that they knew to be
stolen from their jurisdiction.
Among the items recovered were a $60,000 Bobcat, a Kubota tractor, four-wheelers, guns, power
equipment, construction equipment, jewelry, trailers, campers,
appliances, computers and a kitchen island.
There was also a Browning safe that was
swiped from an Athens residence and inside was a credit card which
the Kirbys reportedly maxed out at more than $11,000.
"The Kirbys have a past criminal
history of theft after trust and taking advantage of small business
owners," McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy said. "They've been
suspected in this type of crime for a long time."
Melton noted that nearly half of the
stolen property has been returned to its rightful owner as of Tuesday
evening and Guy confirmed that, so far, everything they've found
that once belonged to McMinn County residents has been returned to
the proper owner.
Officials stressed, however, that
recovery of the stolen goods has not been completed and officials
expect to be combing through items on the property for the next
couple of days.
"Hopefully we can get it returned to
the rightful owners," Melton said of the stolen property.
See full story in the Sunday, Oct. 6, edition of The Advocate & Democrat.