Deputies recover large haul of stolen items

Valued over half million

Sheriff's deputies and investigators were able to recover over a half million dollars worth of stolen property this week, which resulted in the arrests of two Gans men, according the Sequoyah County Sheriff Larry Lane.

Those two men, George Richardson, 42, and Andrew Blackshere, 24, are facing felony larceny charges and possible conspiracy. Lane said as the investigation continues more arrests could follow.

According to information released by the sheriff's office, the two men reportedly stole items from an abandoned home on U.S. Highway 64, just east of Sallisaw.

Lane said Deputy Jeff Neighbors had received a call from a citizen about a suspicious truck pulling a trailer from the abandoned residence. The residence is part of an estate of a woman who is deceased.

The citizen managed to get the tag number from the truck pulling the trailer. When the citizen and Neighbors examined the property, they realized that outbuildings had been burglarized and a large number of items had been removed, Lane said.

At that point, Neighbors enlisted the help of Sheriff's Investigator Gene Wheat. The two managed to track down the truck and its owner, Lane said, and after interviewing the truck owner Neighbors and Wheat began to recover items and track down the suspects.

During an interview with an informant, Wheat said in an affidavit that he learned that George Richardson and Andrew Blackshere had observed an old abandoned home on July 13, just east of Sallisaw.

Richardson reportedly told Blackshere he was going to the courthouse to determine who owned the property, Wheat said in his incident report. According to Wheat's source, Richardson had told Blackshere he made a deal with the owner of the property to remove items from the buildings on the property because the owners were going to demolish the buildings.

The investigators learned the two men reportedly began clearing out the buildings and took the items to a swap meet in LeFlore County, where they sold two trailer loads of clocks and lamps. Wheat said one load of about 150 “Grandma Clocks” were sold for about $600.

The second load, also Grandma Clocks, sold for about $850.

Wheat said in his information that a Le-Flore County man made a good faith deal to purchase a third load. Wheat said Richardson told the man he was clearing out an old property and there was unlimited amounts of abandoned antiques in three buildings. The man made arrangements to meet Richardson at the abandoned home and made another good faith deal to purchase more items from those buildings.

In the meantime, Wheat said in his report that Richardson had removed several lawn mowers, tillers, a zero turn mower and weed eaters from the property, which were also sold at the swap meet. He said Richardson convinced Blackshere to sell several other items at a pawn shop in Fort Smith.

The LeFlore County man who made the good faith deals gave Richardson $1,850 worth of silver bars and coins for some of the property. Richardson then took the silver to a gold and silver dealer in Fort Smith, but the dealer did not have enough money to complete a transaction for the silver bars, Wheat said in his report.

Arrangements were made for Richardson to return the next day to complete the silver transaction but he and Blackshere were arrested in Sallisaw by Sallisaw police on another charge.

Court records show Richardson bonded out on that charge but Blackshere remained in jail. Wheat said in his report Richardson was arrested on July 25 at his home in Gans. He said at the home there was an antique bicycle and garden tiller that had previously been listed as stolen.

Investigators were told that an antique motorcycle that was taken from the abandoned property was at another location west of Gans. Deputy Neighbors went to that location and recovered the motorcycle.

Lane praised the work of Neighbors and Wheat saying, “Over 72 hours, Neighbors and Wheat worked relentlessly, tracking down leads in three counties, to recover as much of the property as possible. These items were mostly antiques and collectibles, along with jewelry, guns, tools, an antique motorcycle and numerous antique clocks.”

Lane said one of the clocks was valued at $27,000 and the antique bicycle worth about $1,800 and jewelry valued at about $350,000.

“These people stole a huge amount of property. We were lucky that a good citizen noticed the suspicious truck and got the tag for us. Without that information we would have had a very hard time tracking down the suspects and property,” Lane said. “Most of the property had already been sold to legitimate businesses and people that had no knowledge that the items were stolen. All of these people and businesses cooperated with us and helped us get the items back.”

Sequoyah County Times

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