Local man, juvenile arrested for string of burglaries
A Russellville man and a 17-year-old juvenile were taken into custody on Monday after authorities said they linked the pair to a string of burglaries in the area.
Cotey Allen Speyer, 21, 919 Limestone St., Russellville, was charged with five counts of third-degree burglary, two counts of first-degree theft of property, one count of second-degree theft of property, three counts of third-degree theft of property and five counts of second-degree criminal mischief.
The 17-year-old male juvenile, whose name could not be released, was charged with the same crimes.
According to Russellville Police Chief Chris Hargett, the department received a call at 6 a.m. Monday from the Russellville Park and Recreation Department who reported the Ralph Bishop Community Center had been burglarized over the weekend.
Hargett said when investigators arrived on the scene, they discovered forcible entry had been made into the community center’s office and a safe was missing.
While still on the scene, police investigator Lt. Scotty Lowery said they received a second phone call at 8 a.m. from Freedom House on Jackson Avenue in Russellville who also reported a break-in at their building.
“When we arrived at Freedom House, we discovered a safe was also missing from their office,” Lowery said.
“In both break-ins, the safes that were stolen had both been forcibly removed from the floor where they were located.”
Lowery said at 9 a.m., the department received a third phone call from Auto Depot on U.S. 43 who reported two cars from their lot had been stolen.
“It appeared that the persons responsible had broken into the office and stolen two sets of car keys to a Toyota Celica and a Pontiac G6, which were driven out the back of the lot,” Lowery said.
After a short time, Lowery said employees of Auto Depot were able to track the cars using the GPS system located in both of the vehicles.
Lowery said one vehicle was found in a wooded area near the Ralph Bishop Community Center and the second vehicle was located on Hawk Pride Mountain in Colbert County.
“During the course of the investigation, we were able to determine a residence where at least one of the suspects might have been during the night,” Lowery said.
“We contacted the property owner who gave us consent to search a camper located on the property and we were able to find the safe that was stolen from the Ralph Bishop Community Center along with other evidence that linked the suspects to the thefts of the vehicles as well as five other business burglaries that have occurred in Russellville in the past month.”
Lowery said they also recovered the safe from Freedom House in the general vicinity of the camper.
“We were able to obtain the names of the suspects from the property owner and took them both into custody around 7 p.m. Monday,” he said.
Hargett said he appreciated the work of the investigators and officers who put in long hours on Monday to make these arrests.
“I’m glad that we were able to not only solve the burglaries from over the weekend but we were also able to wrap up some pending investigations on other burglaries that occurred this past month,” Hargett said.
“It’s a good feeling for the victims in these cases to know the persons responsible have been arrested and it’s a good feeling for our department as well.
“I appreciate the hard work by the investigators for getting these cases taken care of so quickly.”
Lowery said the juvenile had been transported to the Tennessee Valley Detention Center and was scheduled for an initial hearing on Wednesday.
At press time, Speyer was still in custody at the Russellville City Jail.
Lowery said the investigation in these cases is still pending and other charges could be added at a later time.