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Teens suspects in theft ring

Hale County Sheriff’s Department has broken up a theft ring responsible for stealing and damaging nearly $30,000 worth of property.

Law enforcement has arrested five teenagers — including two juveniles — in the rash of burglaries.

Adam Christopher Ingram, 19, of Greensboro, was arrested for three counts of receiving stolen property I and one count each of theft of property I, burglary III and criminal mischief I.

Joey Wayne Harper, 18, of Greensboro, was arrested for four counts of theft of property I and one count each of criminal mischief I, theft of property III, criminal mischief III, burglary III and receiving stolen property I.

A 16-year-old juvenile from Greensboro was arrested for theft of property III, three counts of theft of property I, two counts of receiving stolen property I and a count of burglary III.

Another 16-year-old juvenile from Greensboro was arrested for theft of property I.

Keith Lee Phillips Jr., 19, of Sawyerville, was arrested for theft of property I, and Christopher Hamilton, 19, of Greensboro, was arrested for receiving stolen property.

All the suspects are in custody.

The department has been investigating the case “for quite some time,” said Hale County Sheriff Larry Johnson. Deputies had been working on the case since June 2003. “We knew several kids were involved,” he said. “We actually got a handle on it about two weeks ago, but we’ve been trying to put everything together….Got them (the suspects) in, got talking to them and got statements. Everybody pretty much admitted their part.”

The department had also been talking with the parents of one of the suspects. Some of the stolen property had been taken to one of the suspect’s homes.

Among the items stolen were a golf cart stolen from the Lake Payne area, a golf cart from Gallion, and three four-wheelers. The two golf carts were torn up. Two of the four-wheelers have been recovered, the sheriff said.

One four-wheeler was stolen on the Perry County line and has not been recovered. “It was probably traded to one of our drug dealers here,” Johnson said. Despite that instance, the sheriff does not believe the entire theft ring is drug related.

A few of the suspects were also implicated in the burglary of a house in north Hale County and a house in Perry County.

In addition, the suspects caused a lot of property damage during the various incidents, Johnson said.

Not all of the suspects were involved with each theft case. However, in the case of Joey Wayne Harper, “every time something happened, he seemed to be there.”

It has taken a lot of man-hours to break the case, Johnson said.

Two more individuals are being looked at for August 2003 incidents in Perry County, and more arrests are possible. The investigation continues, the sheriff said. “It may involve some things going on in Tuscaloosa.”