CHARLES TOWN — A series of thefts, burglaries and vehicle break-ins complaints have Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department deputies working for months to track down stolen property and secure an arrest.
The officers succeeded this week.
According to a statement released by the sheriff’s department, the office had been investigating the series of thefts over the past few months. The suspect, the statement said, targeted residential areas, entering unlocked vehicles, garages and homes, usually early in the morning. The majority of items stolen included firearms, US currency and other small items typically found in vehicles, the statement said. Additionally, however, a Yamaha 4-wheeler and a John Deere Gator were also stolen.
Those vehicles were eventually located at a farm on Shirley Road in Jefferson County, the statement continued. Police confirmed that the farm owners were not involved in the thefts and had cooperated with law enforcement.
Lt. Steven Holz, using information obtained through the investigations, obtained a search warrant for a residence on McCormack Lane in Charles Town. During the execution of the warrant by Holz, along with Cpl. G. Gilmer, Deputy K. Stipanovic and Deputy C. Hockman, Monday many stolen items were found. Among the items were 10 firearms, ammunition, Air-Soft guns and equipment, backpacks, knives, compound bows, a Trek mountain bike and other items that were captured as evidence.
According to the press release, five of the firearms seized were confirmed stolen by the NCIC, including three reported to the Jefferson County Sheriff‘s Office, one to the Ranson City Police Department and one reported to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. Berkeley.
Officers conducted an interview with Patrick Utt, who was connected to the property where the stolen items were found. During this interview conducted by Hockman, Utt confessed to numerous thefts in Jefferson County, including that of the Yamaha 4-wheeler and the John Deere Gator.
Hockman placed Utt under arrest, after which he was charged with burglary and robbery. Additional charges are expected, according to Deputy Chief Victor Lupis, who confirmed that the investigation is continuing as investigators review reports and recover items from Utt’s residence to locate other victims.
“I can’t express enough how proud I am of the officers and all the hard work they put into this case,” Lupis commented. “More often than not, cases like these go unsolved, and the amount of work these MPs have put in to recover property belonging to our fellow citizens shows their high level of commitment to their profession.”
If any citizen has information that could help officers with the investigation, please contact Holz at 304-728-3205.