Two men from Florida left town with four brand new motorcycles stolen from Statesboro Yamaha early Sunday, but quick response by local law enforcement made sure the two never reached the state line.
Howard Waters, of Miami, Florida, and Curtis Peters, of Homestead, Florida, each face burglary charges after Bulloch County sheriff's Lt. Neil Casey and Cpl. Brian Nessmith caught them with a trailer full of the stolen motorcycles, said Bulloch County sheriff's Chief Deputy Jared Akins.
Just before 1 a.m. Sunday, Casey and Nessmith responded to an alarm activation at Statesboro Yamaha on Northside Drive East, Akins said.
"Arriving less than one minute after the call was dispatched, Lt. Casey and Cpl. Nessmith observed forced entry to the business," he said. "They alerted other patrol deputies, who converged on the area ... looking for a vehicle which could have driven away with the four motorcycles found to be missing from the business."
After the lookout was posted, the men, traveling in a white Toyota 4Runner with a Maine license plate, towing a U-Haul enclosed trailer, were stopped by Brooklet police Cpl. Shawn Berry, who issued the driver a ticket for speeding at 68 mph in a 35 mph zone, said Brooklet police Chief Max Meyer. Berry did not know the two were burglary suspects and released the pair when deputies said their vehicle was not the one for which they were looking, Meyer said.
However, it was determined later that the 4Runner was in fact the suspects' vehicle, and Bulloch County sheriff's Deputy John Michael Kearney stopped the suspects again on Highway 80 East near Roberson Road, Akins said.
Deputies questioned Waters, 26, and Peters, 24, who refused to allow them to search the U-Haul trailer, Akins said.
"Investigator John Quattlebaum, working the burglary case, applied for and was granted a search warrant for the trailer, at which point the four stolen motorcycles were discovered," Akins said.
Waters and Peters were arrested and transported to the Bulloch County Jail, each charged with one count of burglary.
"Both individuals have lengthy and violent criminal histories from Miami, Florida, and both have spent time in prison there," Akins said.
The quick response of patrol deputies to the scene, the assistance of Brooklet police and the gathering of information that allowed Quattlebaum to obtain a search warrant resulted in the recovery of more than $17,000 worth of merchandise for the business owner, Akins said.
"It was great detective work," said Statesboro Yamaha owner Doug Brown. "The good guys won, and the bad guys lost. The (deputies) were on the scene in record time and were able to stop that trailer in Brooklet."
Brown said he felt the motorcycles were "headed out of state to be sold at a fraction of their value." He expressed gratitude to all involved in the recovery.
Anyone with further information on this case should contact Quattlebaum at (912) 764-1785 or submit an anonymous tip to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.