Out-of-state trio charged in theft case

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

$10,000 worth of tools, jewelry, firearms taken

Two Tennessee residents and one West Virginia resident have been charged in an alleged burglary at a home between Washburn and Seligman.

According to Mick Epperly, Barry County sheriff, Deputy Bill Watkins responded to a burglary report on Oct. 5, 2014, where about $10,000 worth of tools, jewelry and firearms were stolen from a home.

Watkins took numerous fingerprints from the scene, including prints from a a small tin can near the homeowner's bed.

The prints were sent to the crime lab in Carthage, where they were run through the Automated Fingerprint Identification System, a nationwide fingerprint database. Results yielded three suspects: Jeffrey Mounts, 23, of Madisonville, Tenn.; Charlene Hayes, 45, of Sweetwater, Tenn.; and James Wagner, 50, of Huntington, W. Va.

Mounts is charged with first-degree burglary, a class B felony, and theft of property between $500 and $25,000, a class C felony.

Hayes and Wagner are each facing charges of second-degree burglary and theft of property between $500 and $25,000, both class C felonies.

Epperly said all three are being held in the Benton County, Ark., jail facing similar charges. He said without fingerprints, the alleged culprits would not have been caught.

"That's the job of doing burglary cases, and one of the steps is to get any fingerprints you can," he said. "With DNA evidence now, fingerprints make a case much easier."

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