Police were able to follow drag marks from the scene of a recent theft to the residence of the alleged suspect.
Gene Arden Holbert II, 46, 126 Morgan Drive, Ravenswood, was charged with receiving/transferring stolen property.
Around 3 a.m. on Oct. 2018, the Jackson County 911 Center received a call from a woman reporting that she could see suspicious lights from an all-terrain vehicle at a neighbor’s residence in a field near 309 Hemlock Road, Ravenswood.
Deputies B.L. Williams and J.T. Hurt responded to the area and located what appeared to be drag marks on the paved road in front of 176 Hemlock Road, according to a criminal complaint filed by Williams in Jackson County Magistrate Court. Williams and Hurt walked to the vacant residence and found that a large section of the rear of the residence had been ripped off by a vehicle.
The deputies reported seeing tire marks in the grass. Further investigation revealed someone had apparently ransacked the inside of the house.
Williams and Hurt checked an outbuilding behind the residence and noticed the locks on the building had been cut off.
In another building, the deputies found a red 1986 Chevrolet C-10 pickup truck. The officers found a pile of keys next to the truck as if someone had been attempting to locate the key to the vehicle.
The officers began following the drag marks they had found on Hemlock Road. In his report, Williams noted it appeared the marks were made by something heavy being dragged. The trail led the officers to a residence at 126 Morgan Drive, where officers made contact with the property owner.
The officers told the property owner about the break-in and that drag marks at the scene led all the way to his property. The officers and the owner followed the drag marks to a camper parked on the property. The property owner said it was his land but Holbert was living in the camper, according to the criminal complaint.
As the deputies and the property owner approached the camper, they were met by Holbert. At this point, Williams saw a gun safe attached by a chain to a red side-by-side ATV, which was parked at the end of the drag marks in front of the camper.
Williams and Hurt asked Holbert about the gun safe and ATV, but Holbert denied knowledge of them. He told the deputies that when he woke up, he heard what sounded like “a grinder and clanging and banging” outside.
Holbert said he got up, turned on the light, and looked outside in time to see two men running from the area and over the hill into the woods. Holbert said he then found the ATV and gun safe in his yard.
Williams noted the ATV was a red 900 Polaris Ranger XP and that the ignition had been removed. He knew the vehicle matched the description of an ATV reported stolen Oct. 21 from Utah Road in Ravenswood.
On Oct. 22, Williams obtained a search warrant for Holbert’s camper. Williams and Hurt, along with Deputy C.R. Saltsgaver and Lt. Bobby Knox and Sgt. Seth Fisher, both of the Ravenswood Police Department, executed the search warrant on the camper.
Officers located several items in the camper, including cell phones, miscellaneous jewelry, a name tag with “Bowers” printed on it, jewelry boxes, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service uniform patch, drug paraphernalia, and a Kel Tec P11 9-mm handgun.
Outside of the camper, the officers located a sledgehammer, two pry bars, a grinder, and two appraisals for jewelry. Many of the items located within the camper belonged to the owners of the residence where the break-in occurred, according to the criminal complaint.
While searching the property near the camper, officers also found a black spray-painted Honda Rubicon 500. The primary VIN number on this ATV had been ground off and the ignition switch had been hot-wired. The secondary VIN number was located on the ATV and a check through the National Crime Information Center database showed it had been entered as stolen by the West Virginia State Police South Charleston Office on or about Sept. 25.