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Monday, May 2, 2016

Juvenile charged in theft of truck

Thursday, August 8, 2002

After stealing a Sturkie man's pickup truck and wrecking it a juvenile confessed to the theft, according to the Salem Police Department.

On the morning of July 29 a black 1994 Chevrolet four-wheel drive truck belonging to Ronnie Romine was taken from a parking lot across from Preacher Roe Park, said Salem Police Chief Albert Roork.

Romine is a truck driver so he routinely leaves the truck locked and secured at that location, Roork said.

Roork received a phone call from a resident, Doug Cunningham, who said he had been contacted by a 16-year-old male who told Cunningham he found the truck in some weeds and thought the truck belonged to Cunningham, Roork reported.

The minor told Roork the truck had not been locked and he had discovered a hide-a-key in the vehicle.

Roork reported that quite a bit of damage was done to the body of the truck and the passenger side window had been broken.

A red jack handle was found on the floorboard of the truck which didn't belong in the truck, according to the owners. Romine's wife, Linda, picked the truck up later that day.

Later that evening Fulton County Deputy Carrol Traw spotted the same juvenile in Viola pilfering through a Nissan pickup truck, Roork said. The suspect told Traw he was working on the truck but Traw made the juvenile leave the area.

Roork located the owner of the Nissan truck who told officers he did not give the suspect permission to work on the truck.

Roork questioned the suspect's stepfather about the jack handle. The stepfather told Roork the jack handle looked like one belonging to him, according to Roork's account.

After further questioning by Roork, the suspect confessed he had stolen the truck and driven it to the Missouri border. While traveling in the stolen vehicle, he swerved to miss a deer and turned the truck over. He got the vehicle back on its side, Roork thought with the help of a friend, and later hid the truck.

Over $2,000 in damages to the vehicle is estimated. Roork said the incident is in the hands of the prosecutor who will file charges of criminal mischief and unauthorized use of a vehicle. Roork said he didn't think anyone else was involved with the theft. "He acted alone," Roork concluded.

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