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October 18, 2007 Issue

Burglary suspect calls law
Brothers charged with possession in drug stop
Fire fought at Glit

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Burglary suspect calls law

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

Louisville residents were living in fear that the burglar who had entered their homes and automobiles would return. But after allegedly stealing from many residents, Tarrence Gamble got a dose of his own medicine when four juvenile boys broke into his home and stole from him.

Rosemary Young and 23-year-old Gamble, both of Wrens Quarters called the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office to their home at 1031 Handy Street after someone allegedly broke into their home through a window stealing an XBOX and a purple go-kart from their yard, according to Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Clark Hiebert.

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Louisville residents were living in fear that the burglar who had entered their homes and automobiles would return. But after allegedly stealing from many residents, Tarrence Gamble got a dose of his own medicine when four juvenile boys broke into his home and stole from him.

Rosemary Young and 23-year-old Gamble, both of Wrens Quarters called the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office to their home at 1031 Handy Street after someone allegedly broke into their home through a window stealing an XBOX and a purple go-kart from their yard, according to Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Clark Hiebert.

“When I got there, officers had located the go-kart in the woods in front of the residence,” Hiebert said. “The motor was missing along with the sprocket and the chain.”

It was reported to Hiebert that someone in the neighborhood had seen a juvenile with the go-kart. Officers went to work trying to find the juvenile. Soon after, Hiebert and other law enforcement found a juvenile driving a go-kart with the carburetor off and it was running off of ethanol. Hiebert said the engine was not designed to run off of ethanol.

“He said he had gotten it running in the last couple of days,” Hiebert said.

Hiebert went to retrieve Young and Gamble to look at the go-kart to identify the parts, by this time the juvenile had made it to his own residence. Officers Tim Moore, Jimmy Kitchens, Chip Evans and Hiebert recovered the parts from the go-kart.

Officers picked up the juvenile along with his brother and learned where the motor to the stolen go-kart was located. The XBOX was also recovered, though the juveniles had disassembled it so it would not be recognized, Hiebert said.

“While we were interviewing him, we learned that three others were involved in the actual burglary,” Hiebert said. “We learned from them that the victims had a lot of stolen property in the residence and that it had come from different victims within the city.”

Hiebert had the juveniles describe the stolen goods and then contacted the Louisville Police Department, where Louisville Police Chief Jimmy Miller verified these types of items and weapons had been reported stolen in burglaries and thefts of autos in Louisville.

Miller went to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office where he re-interviewed some of the victims who had originally reported burglaries. Afterwards, Young allowed officers to search her house, where they found numerous stolen items. Items were recovered from underneath their house in a bag and some items were loose under the house and in the woods.

When officers returned to the residence, Gamble confessed that he had stolen the items by himself on several different occasions including some thefts that had not been reported to law enforcement.

“He cooperated fully,” Hiebert said.

Gamble began his theft spree during the summer when he entered the vehicle of William Hadden sometime between July 21-23. Gamble entered Hadden’s 2007 Chevrolet pick-up truck where he took an XM satellite radio. Hiebert said the radio was recovered on the date of Gamble’s arrest, where it was installed in Gamble’s blue Camaro.

Between July 26-27, Ashley Dukes reported someone had entered her 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe and took her Durabrand DVD player. The vehicle was parked in front of her home. Officers were on their way to Jenkins County to retrieve it Monday, after Gamble divulged where the DVD player was located.

Between July 26-31, Patrick Michael Brown reported someone had entered his residence where a .32-caliber Colt pistol was taken, along with a Hobby Zone Super Cub remote control plane, a Black and Decker iron and $100 to $150 in change.

Brown told officers the side door was unlocked and when he came home, he found a Coca-Cola from the refrigerator on top of his dryer, indicating someone had been in his home.

Brown also had a 12-gauge shotgun stolen from his residence at an earlier date, but did not report it. Hiebert said it was unclear why Brown did not.

The 12-guage was recovered at a residence near Moore Street where a man said he purchased the firearm for $100. The plane was found on Second Street in the woods and the iron along with the remote to the plane were recovered from Gamble’s and Young’s residence. Officers also went to Jenkins County Monday to recover the pistol.

Between Aug. 4-5, Luther J. Bowles reported that the right rear window of his 2002 Lexus had been broken while his car was parked in a side garage. Gamble shattered the window and took a digital camera, bag of clothing, car vacuum and four Mexican lapel pins. The items taken were worth $700. Bowles said it seemed as if the items in his car had been disturbed, but none of his credit cards or checkbook had been taken.

The car vacuum was found under the house, the pins and camera were in Gamble’s bedroom and Gamble admitted that he threw the clothing in a ditch somewhere.

Gamble entered the 1999 Ford Ranger of Wendell Jackson sometime between July 23 and Aug. 10 where he took two 15-inch American Bass Wolf speakers, a 134 watt amplifier, CD player and one crossover. The speakers were found under Gamble’s residence, where they had both been blown, the amp and crossover were found near Nelm Street in Louisville.

Sometime between Sept. 17-18, Gamble entered the residence of Hadden, a victim from a previous burglary, where he entered the kitchen window while Hadden and his wife slept. Gamble took the pocketbook of Mrs. Hadden from the den where he stole $200 and the wallet on the dresser beside where they slept and stole $1,200.

“This incident was investigated by the Louisville Police Department and a shoe print was photographed,” Hiebert said. “The items from the billfold and pocketbook were found scattered down the street. The trail indicated that it was someone who lived in Wrens Quarters or that they were headed in that direction.”

Later in the month, Gamble entered the home of Jeffrey Morton Harvey while he slept and stole Harvey’s silver and blue bicycle. Gamble also took $20 from Harvey’s wallet in the kitchen, a men’s Lands End tweed brown sports coat, a navy blue cashmere sweater, a round half-carat diamond stud earring and a watch.

“He gained entry through the back door,” Hiebert said.

The watch was recovered at Gamble’s residence, while someone took the bike to the Louisville Police Department at an earlier date.

Gamble also stole from a storage building from Mayor Rita Culvern’s residence. Gamble took a DVD player that was found in his bedroom and a gas can that was later found under his residence.

He stole pieces of jewelry from Cindy Jones' 2006 Chevrolet Malibu sometime between Aug. 3 and Sept. 5.

Hiebert said Gamble will be charged with 12 or more felony counts ranging from entering an auto to burglary to theft by taking and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Gamble was serving a five-year sentence on probation and is currently being held by at the Jefferson County Jail where his probation officer plans to revoke his probation. Young has not been charged.

“She was not charged and cooperated fully,” Hiebert said. “She seemed to be surprised that these items in her home were stolen, but investigators are still trying to determine her innocence or her guilt.”

The first conviction of burglary can be punished by imprisonment of not less than two years, but not more than 20. A third conviction can be met with a sentence of not less than five years, not more than 20.

Gamble explained to Hiebert that a designer drug he had taken during the commission of each crime caused him to wreak havoc on the city.

“I asked him what motivated him to commit these crimes,” Hiebert said, also noting that Gamble put himself in some very dangerous situations. “He told me that he was on ecstasy. He took one each time before committing crimes. He said he did not see William Hadden and his wife lying in bed. He said the pills do not let him see anything besides what he is after.

“This type of criminal is very dangerous while being under the influence. He vaguely remembers details and items taken and what he did with the items. The same day he stole from the Haddens, there was a receipt for $369 on a stereo system he had installed in his car.

“It always helps when officers of a department communicate with officers of another department. Lack of the communication between departments is at the victim’s expense. Chief Miller was very helpful in this investigation.



Brothers charged with possession in drug stop

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

Jefferson County Investigator Clark Hiebert recently reported two arrests in Louisville after law enforcement was notified of four young males involved in illegal drug activity in a vehicle parked on the side of the street.

Hiebert said on Oct. 13 at 12:30 a.m., he received a phone call of four men “smoking dope” in a parked car near Lemle Avenue, about a block from the Louisville Police Department.

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“As I drove up to the car, the driver’s door opened immediately, but he continued to sit in the car,” Hiebert said Tuesday. “As I approached the car, I could smell a strong marijuana scent coming from that direction. As I got closer, I could actually see smoke coming out of the windows.”

Hiebert said he also noticed cocaine laying on the ground beside the driver’s door.

“There was a lot of movement in the car when I first approached it,” Hiebert said. “It looked like someone had tried to push some of it under the car and there was a bag with some cocaine still in it beside the car.”

According to Hiebert, the driver had a “considerable” amount of cocaine between his legs, that he thought could have come from the driver tearing the bag open to pour out the contents.

Two Louisville Police Department officers and two Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office deputies also responded to the scene as back up for Hiebert. Officers had each one of the males get out of the car individually. In doing so, they discovered a backseat passenger had a bag of cocaine hidden under him.

While two of the subjects were let go after being questioned, two brothers were both charged with possession of cocaine. Johnny Lee Johnson, 23, of Wadley and Untavious Ricardo Johnson, 19, also of Wadley were both charged with the possession, which is a felony.

As of Tuesday, both brothers had bonded out the Jefferson County Jail on $5,000 bond. Hiebert said he believed that the brothers had possibly close to a gram of cocaine a piece.

“Cocaine is a drug that seems like it is becoming more widely used than what it was for a while,” Hiebert said. “But ecstasy is the big thing now. Powder cocaine is becoming more widely used again or we are running into it more. With ecstasy, it is a designer drug, and it is probably the worst thing we got out there right now.”



Fire fought at Glit

Parish Howard
Editor/Publisher

Firefighters were able to extinguish a blaze in a Wrens manufacturing plant early Friday morning before it spread significantly through the building.

According to reports by the Wrens Fire Department, they were notified of a structure fire at Glit/Microtron’s 809 East Broad Street plant at 12:47 a.m. Oct. 12. Units were on the scene within three minutes and large amounts of smoke were then visible coming from the top of the building.

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Wrens Fire Chief Larry Cheely said that the building had already been evacuated when he arrived.

“It appeared to our firefighters that someone at Glit had tried to put the fire out before we got there,” Cheely said. “When we arrived, smoke had filled the building down to about five feet (from the floor). That’s a large building and that’s a lot of smoke.”

Cheely went on to say the machinery that was on fire was about 400 feet into the building.

“We sent two teams in with hoses to look for it and had one team back as backup for safety,” he said.

The fire appeared to have started inside an industrial oven component of a “spray dryer,” Cheely said. According to the department’s incident report, the first item ignited could have been buildup on the equipment.

“When we got to the machine and got up on top of it, we discovered that the fire was on two levels. One was in the spray dryer itself, the other was in or at the ceiling level where the fire had traveled into an exhaust vent through the ceiling.”

The Wrens department had sent firefighters onto the roof, to determine how much of the fire had broken through as smoke was plainly visible from outside the building.

According to the city’s report, the company’s sprinkler system heads did not activate until after the firefighters were inside the building and attacking the blaze.

The fire itself appeared to be confined to the oven and the exhaust system.

On the report, the department estimated the fire damage to the equipment as being “significant (25-49%).”

“The fire was pretty much under control just five minutes after we got there,” Cheely said. “But it probably took us about an hour to get all of it extinguished.”

The report lists the fire controlled by 1:55 a.m. and the last unit cleared the scene at 2:06 a.m.

Numerous calls to the Glit/Microtron’s Wrens plant were unreturned as of Tuesday afternoon.

In November of 2006 the company, which produces several lines of cleaning pads and abrasive sponges, announced that it was closing its Washington plant and this was the most recent move in a three-year plan to consolidate much of its manufacturing business into the Wrens plant. The plan was to have the line and the jobs that went with it moved and started up by June of 2007.

This time last year the plant employed around 260 people.




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