The arrest of a man hauling drugs and a stolen ATV led sheriff's investigators to two other suspects believed to be responsible for a recent home invasion, according to the Bulloch County Sheriff's Office.
Around 11 a.m. July 16, sheriff's Senior Deputy Doug Harrell, using automated license plate reader technology in his patrol car, spotted a truck he passed on Georgia Highway 46 that bore an incorrect tag, Sheriff Lynn Anderson said in a news release issued Thursday.
Harrell noticed the truck was towing a trailer hauling a covered ATV.
"Deputies were on the lookout for suspicious vehicles of this type due to recent ATV thefts in Bulloch County," Anderson said.
Harrell and Deputy 1st Class William Sims stopped the truck at a residence on Old Donaldson School Road and discovered the driver, Christopher Michael Jenkins, 41, of Red Hill Church Road in southeastern Bulloch County, with a Pembroke mailing address, had in his possession a quantity of methamphetamine and a firearm. After his arrest on those charges, sheriff's investigators assisting the patrol deputies discovered that the ATV had been reported stolen in Tattnall County, he said.
"Subsequent follow-up by investigators led to the recovery of two more ATVs, one stolen from Evans County and one stolen from Harville Road in Bulloch County earlier in the month," Anderson said.
Investigators also arrested two other suspects in the ATV theft ring; Brandon Conder, 20, of Mill Branch Club Road, and Eric Fisher, 22, of Lem Lanier Road, both in southern Bulloch County with Pembroke mailing addresses. Both are also suspected to have been involved in a home invasion armed robbery June 2 on Roberts Road near the Bryan County line, he said.
Jenkins is charged with no insurance, expired tag, driving while license suspended, altered tag, possession of methamphetamine, felony theft by receiving stolen property, possession of a firearm by convicted felon and probation violation.
Conder and Fisher are charged with armed robbery.
Both Jenkins and Conder were taken to the Bulloch County Jail while Fisher remains in the Tattnall County Jail on charges pending there, Anderson said.
Investigators continue to investigate the activities of Jenkins, Conder, and Fisher. Anyone with information on items which the group may have stolen or sold is asked to contact sheriff's Investigator Dusty Williams at 912-764-1703 or submit an anonymous tip to firstname.lastname@example.org."
Anderson said he commends the deputies involved for their efforts and is proud of the use of technology, combined with excellent investigation, which led to these arrests.
The automated license plate reader Harrell used is one of two that were purchased by the sheriff's office out of funds seized from criminals, Anderson said. The system reads tags as vehicles pass the patrol car and alert the deputy if the vehicle is stolen, has no insurance, is expired, or if the registered owner has an arrest warrant.
Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.