A semi tractor-trailer stolen in Clay County during the weekend was recently located in Sullivan County.
According to information provided by the Clay County Sheriff's Department, at approximately 10:13 p.m., Sunday, the department received a 911 call from the Petro truck stop, 1035 W. State Road 42.
The call came from an employee of the truck stop who said that a customer had asked her to call 911 to report his semi tractor-trailer had been stolen from the Petro lot.
Clay County 911 Dispatch also contacted the surrounding counties to notify them to be on the lookout for the stolen vehicle.
As the investigation pursued, it was determined the stolen flat bed trailer was loaded with approximately 45,000 pounds of copper sheets, valued by the company at approximately $200,000. The tractor-trailer belonged to Bennett Motor Express and the driver was Lawrence Wood, Santa Fe, N.M. Wood said he had stopped at the truck stop to use the restroom and was only away from his vehicle for approximately 15 minutes. He added the vehicle had been left running with the doors locked when he went inside the station.
While still at the Petro station, Clay County Deputy Eric Oberholtzer was notified the Sullivan County Sheriff's Department had located the stolen trailer, still loaded with the copper sheets.
The trailer was found on the parking lot of the Carlisle truck stop in Sullivan County.
A different tractor was attached to the trailer when it was located.
Fernando Macias, 48, Florida, was found with the stolen vehicle and arrested by the Sullivan County Sheriff's Department. A short time later, the stolen semi-tractor was located parked on the lot of the Pilot Travel Center just off Interstate-70 in Vigo County. It was reported officials with the Sullivan County Sheriff's Department stopped the suspect trailer on United States 41 after seeing it on the road without operating taillights. Officials met with the driver, who was able to get the lights working, and he was released. Moments later, the dispatch report came across regarding the vehicle stolen. Sullivan officials then stopped the vehicle again at the truck stop in Carlisle.
Macias was arrested, but a passenger in the vehicle ran into a nearby wooded area and was not captured.
According to Clay County Sheriff's Department officials, Wood was driven to the Pilot station to retrieve the stolen vehicle and while there, discovered a cell phone had been stolen from the truck. In addition, he noticed a Qualcom computer in the vehicle had been damaged. He was eventually allowed to hook the semi-trailer back to the tractor and leave.
Macias was preliminarily charged with theft, enhanced to a class C felony.
According to Oberholtzer, the enhancement stemmed from the trailer's load of copper plating being worth more than $100,000. He appeared in Sullivan Circuit Court Tuesday and posted bond, but remained in custody. According to officials, he still faces legal proceedings in Clay County.
"This is an ongoing investigation and further arrests may be forthcoming," Clay County Sheriff's Department officials stated.