Two individuals connected to a theft ring involving Walker and surrounding counties were arrested by the Walker County Sheriff's Office this week.
Christopher “Rabbit” Odom, 35, of Jasper was charged with three counts of theft of property first degree. Court records show that Odom reportedly stole a John Deere tractor in Cordova on Oct. 19, a Honda CBR sport bike in Jasper on Oct. 20 and a Chevy truck on Oct. 21.
Christopher Pickle, 31, of Cordova, was charged with two counts of theft of property first degree in the case of the stolen truck and sport bike. Charges of receiving stolen property are pending.
Statistics released by Sheriff Nick Smith this week show that burglaries in the county are on pace to be the lowest in five years.
Through Oct. 7, the department has investigated 159 burglaries and 309 felony thefts.
In 2018, there were 348 burglaries and 438 felony thefts.
Both crimes dropped sharply from 2015 to 2017 before rising again in 2018. In 2015, there were 429 burglaries and 584 felony thefts.
Department officials are projecting a 39 percent decrease in property crime this year.
Smith commended deputies and investigators for their efforts. The department had made 1,583 arrests through September, and most were for crimes such as theft. Only 595, or 38 percent, were for drugs.
Investigators have closed 416 out of 638 cases, which represents a 65 percent solve rate.
"That's remarkable considering that property crimes are the hardest things to sove. If you have no serial number or identifying marks on your property that is stolen and there are no witnesses, it's going to be very difficult to make a case," Smith said.
Programs like the WCSO's Mercy Project and other efforts by local groups to get treatment for individuals living in addiction are also starting to make a difference, according to Smith.
"Out of 64,000 people in this county, there is only about 1,500 or 2,000 who are committing crimes and making these numbers go up. For every person you help so that they're no longer in addiction and not stealing, it makes an impact," Smith said.
Four arrested on Halloween
A Halloween drug operation was successful after the Walker County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant on Pleasant Grove Road in Oakman.
The investigation, led by Narcotics Investigator Josh Edwards, led to four arrests and the seizure of heroin, methamphetamine, 47 needles, drug smoking pipes, digital scales and $2,323 in U.S. Currency.
Those arrested are as follows:
Loretta Ann Flippo, age 42 of Oakman, charged with Unlawful Distribution of a Controlled Substance, and two (2) counts of Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance;
Jason Eric Allison, age 32 of McCollum, charged with Unlawful Possession of Drug Paraphernalia;
Jennifer Nicole Shearer, age 34 of McCollum, charged with Unlawful Possession of Drug Paraphernalia;
Joseph Shun Thomas, age 37 of McCollum, charged with Unlawful Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
Investigators will be asking the District Attorney to initiate civil forfeiture proceedings on the cash seized during the raid.