By Jonathan D. Austin, News-Record & Sentinel
Three people were arrested Wednesday after an alert neighbor saw suspicious behavior in a Madison County community.
The investigation began when “a neighbor observed a white pick-up truck stop and drop a white male off” along Little Pine Road. She thought it was suspicious,” Harwood said. “When the truck returned, the man loaded items into it and they left.” The items turned out to have been stolen from a nearby home, according to a complaint.
“Another neighbor had seen a red pressure washer in the back of the truck, and he thought, ‘hey, that looks just like mine,’” Harwood recounted. When the neighbor checked his barn he saw that his pressure washer was missing, as were other items.”
Arrested and charged in the case were Richard Seldon Sawyer, 27; Glenda Darlene James, 32; and Anthony George James, 64, all of 1278 Dry Pond Road. Sawyer was charged with two counts, felony larceny, felony breaking and entering, felony safe cracking, possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Glenda James was charged with felony larceny, felony possession of marijuana and felony possession of methamphetamine. Her father, Anthony James, was charges with felony possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of stolen property and possession of marijuana, records show.
Detectives took out warrants based on the witness statements and arrested the three Wednesday afternoon. But while officers were searching the scene, located on Dry Pond Road, they found evidence that tied them to the case over Labor Day weekend in which cars, climbing gear and a safe were stolen, Harwood said.
In fact, the sheriff said the Dodge truck identified by the witnesses had on it a tag taken from one of five vehicles stolen in that Labor Day spree. That led detectives to question Sawyer about any connection to the earlier thefts and Harwood said the suspect “admitted having the safe from the earlier breaking and entering. He’d tried to break into it, and had tried to take it to sell at a scrap yard, but they wouldn’t take it.” He said Sawyer told officers he had nearly lost three fingers while trying to get into the safe.
Detectives also said they found four fishing poles that had been reported stolen at a pawn shop in Leicester.
While searching the James’ home officers found marijuana and methamphetamine, Harwood said.
Madison County Animal Control was also called to take four pit bulls that appeared to have been used for fighting. One of the dogs had bite marks on its body and it walked with a limp.
Deputies seized two guns at the home, and impounded the Dodge diesel pickup and a scooter that had been reported stolen.
Harwood said he was happy to make the arrests and find the items that had been stolen. “I’m tired of our residents coming home to find it vandalized and their things stolen, targeted by a group of no-good dopers.”
He said Buncombe County officials are investigating the individual who had received some of the stolen property, and that more arrests are possible.
Anthony James was released from jail due to health issues, Harwood said. His daughter was jailed under $10,000 secured bond while Sawyer was held under $30,000 secured bond.