Approximately $400,000 in stolen automobiles, trailers, heavy construction and industrial equipment was recovered last week in Izard County.
Jeffery Floyd, who lives out of state, and owns property on Newburg Road reported the theft of a 1966 Kenworth Day-Cab Truck with $100,000 or more worth of concrete construction equipment, a 1991 Jeep Wrangler, a gooseneck trailer with $80,000 worth of concrete construction stored inside, a Ford F350 flatbed with aluminum walk boards, scaffolding and a Genie Industrial Generator. The three vehicles, two trailers, construction and industrial equipment was valued by Floyd at $291,000.
After information was obtained and a person of interest identified, search warrants were issued for properties on Chapel Hill Road and Jumbo Road.
When Izard County Investigators arrived at the Jumbo location to speak with Blake Leamon Sutherland, he fled.
While officers were identifying the items belonging to Floyd, they also discovered additional items reported stolen out of Crittenden and Craighead counties. Another piece of equipment was reported stolen in Texas.
Officers worked well into the night Thursday and returned to both locations Friday and Saturday gathering evidence and making contact with various agencies that had reported the stolen equipment.
In addition to the stolen property, a glass smoking device and a Ziploc bag containing 29.8 grams of a white crystalline substance tested positive for methamphetamine were found at one of the locations.
On Friday, Sutherland was recognized as a passenger in a vehicle near the Melbourne court square and a traffic stop was initiated.
Before the driver could come to a complete stop, Sutherland bailed from the vehicle and was apprehended by an officer a short time later.
He was then transported to the Izard County Detention Center where it was discovered he had a small amount of methamphetamine and a smoke device on his person.
On Wednesday, Sutherland was charged with four counts of theft of property, a class B felony, two counts of theft by receiving, a class B felony, one count possession of a controlled substance, a class B felony, two counts theft of property, a class C felony, four counts of theft by receiving, a class C felony, two counts of furnishing a prohibited article, a class C felony, three counts of theft by receiving, a class D felony, one count of theft by receiving, a class D felony and five counts of breaking or entering a class D felony. His bond has been set at $400,000.
In a post-Miranda interview, Sutherland confessed he had removed the items Floyd had reported stolen from Newburg Road. Sutherland said he had purchased all the items in a “bundle” for $20,000. The initial witness statements gathered during the initial investigation into the Newburg Road theft provided descriptions for a suspect and vehicle that matched Sutherland and his truck.
Sutherland also stated he had purchased the Jonesboro items from a man named “Chip” for $10,000 he had met on the side of the interstate to conduct the transaction. He also claimed he purchased the stolen tractor and boat from Crittenden County from the same person and that he had purchased the Kubota mini excavator from “Chip” for $6,000.
Sutherland said he believed all the items he “purchased” from Chip were stolen due to “Chip” being a “shady character.” Sutherland confessed the Honda ATV, crossbow and Marlin 30-30 rifle were stolen from a residence on Jumbo Road by an unknown female who gave them to him.