Clay County Prosecutor Lee Reberger anticipates charging several juveniles and adults with as many as 10 thefts. The charges stem from law enforcement's investigation into Staunton vehicle break-ins on May 1.
"The case is still under investigation at this time, but we do expect to file charges soon," he told The Brazil Times.
A 17-year old Brazil juvenile, smelling of alcohol, was taken into custody by an off-duty Clay County Sheriff's Department officer following a reported theft. The juvenile, whose description fit that of a suspect seen breaking into a vehicle on Franklin Street in Staunton, was in possession of items believed to be missing property.
In statements to authorities, the boy said he was at a party the night before, drinking with three other boys. They went for a walk and "got into a few cars" to take some stuff, he said.
The sheriff's department took calls from victims over two days reporting vehicle break-ins from a neighborhood just south of Staunton Elementary.
Deputy Brian Pierce's investigation determined a total of 10 vehicles were broken into at residences on Washington, Franklin, Green, Columbus and Riley streets.
Some items reported missing from the vehicles included car stereo equipment, portable DVD equipment, CDs, DVDs, camping supplies, clothing, tools and a large duffle bag containing a volunteer firefighter's equipment. The approximate value of the items totaled a little more than $3,700.
Locating the missing items was important for the individual victims, but recovering the firefighter's gear was crucial for the community, according to Deputy Pierce.
"Without that gear, Posey's volunteer fire department was down a man," Pierce said. "That can cripple a fire department during a life threatening moment.
"Hopefully it got through to him and he won't make a foolish choice again."
The prosecutor's office is continuing to review the case as the Clay County Sheriff's Department gathers information from the investigation.
Anyone with information regarding this case, or any others, please call Deputy Brian Pierce at the Clay County Sheriff's Department at 446-2535.