A lengthy investigation has been put into the case by Cherokee Village Police Chief Rickey Crook, Cherokee Village Police Department officers and the Sharp County Sheriff's Department. They were able to seize truckloads of stolen merchandise after search warrants were issued on two locations. According to a affidavit for warrant of arrest filed Aug. 9 by District Judge Mark Johnson, on July 16, the Cherokee Village Police Department received a report of a break-in at 29 Lakeshore Drive in Cherokee Village. The break-in listed 75 items as missing. A search warrant was executed July 27 by the department on a home at 156 Cherokee Road, where Evans was known to live. During the search, more than 10 items were recovered from the Lakeshore break-in. There was a total of 97 items recovered from other burglaries and thefts within the city.
Crook said items taken included, chain saws, weed eaters, skil saws, drills, drill presses, furniture, chairs dressers, interior pieces, glassware, a home made wooden biplane recovered under the Cherokee Road home, electronics, DVDs, radios, DVD players, mini refrigerators, luggage, scuba gear, nail guns, lawn mowers, brass , cookware, a pressure washer, a generator, a welder, among many other items.
Following the first search warrant of Evans' home, the Cherokee Village Police Department was given a new report of items stolen from another location. A local real estate salesperson had photos of the home, while it was fully furnished. The police then went back a second time to the Cherokee Road location on Aug. 11, in an attempt to recover some of the items in the photo. During the second search, it was determined Evans was still performing break ins, and another truckload and part of a trailer of stolen items were recovered from the same location.
Crook urges the public's patience in returning the items. He said, "If it was just one burglary, it would be much easier." With the massive amount of stolen merchandise, including the possibility other homes may be involved in the crime spree -- which is believed to have occurred over a long period of time -- the return of items may take a while.
Crook encourages the public to record serial numbers and photograph their homes. Rather than storing the photos within their home, he suggested uploading the photos to an online email account for storage. Crook said, "That way you can access your pictures anywhere you have a computer." Many thieves steal computers or even lock boxes, so storage online is a much better option. Anything that can make the return of stolen items easier is recommended to homeowners and is a very valuable piece of evidence for insurance claims as well.
A hiring freeze within the city has prevented the police department from hiring a detective, making the investigation process take longer than normal.
The department is currently working diligently to get the items returned to their proper owners, but asks for patience on the part of the public during this process.
Evans is currently in the Sharp County Jail. His bond has been set at $30,000.