A Barrow County man became the first to go down as a result of the new Gwinnett County Police Department’s Metal Theft Unit - and that was just two days after the unit became operational.
According to a press release from GCPD spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith, Thomas Lee Davis, 56, of Hoschton, was arrested and charged with felony theft by taking. Davis was arrested after an investigation of the theft of steel I-Beams from GP Enterprises in Auburn Wednesday led detectives from the unit straight to him. Documentation from the recycler who purchased the stolen property solidified the charge. Officials said this case is an example of investigations the unit will be conducting and illustrates how important the documents required by recyclers are in closing such cases. The unit is charged with not only investigating thefts, but also ensuring compliance of state documentation by secondary metal recyclers.
Detectives reported that when investigating the theft at GP Enterprises, they noticed fresh tire prints and footprints. In addition, the company had installed security cameras because of a prior incident and surveilance footage revealed the tag number of the vehicle that removed the steel I-beams. This information was traced back to Davis and he was subsequently arrested and charged in the incident. The sale of the beams was tracked to a seconday recycler in Auburn who provided a receipt of the sale. The I-beams were recovered and returned to GP Enterprise. The case is still under investigation as police believe it is possible that Davis had accomplices.
The unit was formed following an increase in metal theft that continues to plague law enforcement in all jurisdictions.