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5 arrested in Liberty County equipment theft ring
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Construction equipment and lawnmowers sit in an impoundment area at the Liberty County Sheriff's Office, apparently part of a theft-ring probe led by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. - photo by File photo by Lewis Levine

Five men were arrested Tuesday in connection with a Georgia Bureau Investigation probe into a possible equipment-theft ring, the GBI announced.

Those charged were:
• Pete Clark, six felony counts of theft by receiving stolen property;
• Tyler Pete Dan Clark, one felony count of theft by receiving stolen property;
• Horace Lavern Fleming, three felony counts of theft by receiving stolen property and one count of false statements or writings, concealing facts of fraudulent documents in matters of government;
• Ellis Jerome Miness, two felony counts of theft by receiving stolen property; and 
• Paul Anthony Spradley, two felony counts of theft by receiving stolen property.

The GBI announced last week that a warrant had been issued for Willie Frank Chambliss. GBI Special Agent in Charge Cathy Sapp said Tuesday that Chambliss was still at large.

The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office asked the GBI on June 1 to investigate the possible theft ring. Over the course of the investigation, several items of construction equipment, zero-turn mowers and the like, were recovered, the GBI said.

During this probe, another equipment theft was discovered. On June 9, a search warrant was served at 921 Peter King Road in Riceboro. As a result of the investigation and the search warrant, 203 push mowers were recovered. The shipping container was later located abandoned. The warrant was issued for Chambliss after the second theft was discovered, according to the GBI.

Sapp said Fleming, Spradley, Miness, Tyler Clark and Pete Clark turned themselves in to the Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday morning.

According to the Liberty County Jail website, Fleming was released on $9,200 bond, Spradley and Miness were each released on $4,600 bond, Tyler Clark on $2,300 bond and Pete Clark on $13,800 bond.

The case is still open and under investigation. Anyone with information should call the GBI at 912-871-1121 or the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office at 912 876-4555.

Correspondent Lewis Levine contributed to this report.

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