Two men arrested for theft, burglary in Salem

By: 
Staff Writer Kate Wehlann

Jeremy Smith, 48, Jeffersonville, and Michael Stephens, 48, New Albany, were arrested after being caught stealing at a property on North Franklin School Road.

Around 8:45 p.m. on Oct. 31, Deputy Matt Hein was sent to a possible burglary in progress on North Franklin School Road, which the victim, Nathan Vance, had been remodeling. Hein found two men in the driveway in separate trucks with trailers attached. Both trucks were backed up to the garage. Hein and Deputy Paul Ginkins approached the men and asked each individually what they were doing there. Their stories didn’t match.

Furthermore, after Deputy Brad Naugle arrived on scene, he said he could plainly see items in one of the trucks and trailers that had been reported stolen on Oct. 7 and 27. Deputy Abby Powers had initially taken on that investigation. Her report listed 40 items found missing — mostly tools and some construction site equipment, including a heater, table saw, band saw, routers and other items. The officers got in touch with Vance to see if he could identify the items in the trucks.

The two men, Smith and Stephens, were taken to the Washington County Detention Center.

Smith told Naugle he and Stephens had hooked a trailer (which had been found missing) to his truck and came to Washington County to buy a car from Alan Witt, who Naugle knew had been incarcerated for several months.

After obtaining a search warrant, officers found a clear baggie with a crystalline substance and a glass pipe in Smith’s truck and multiple items that had been reported stolen in Smith’s home in Jeffersonville. More stolen items were recovered from Stephens’s home after his mother consented to a search by police.

Smith was arrested and preliminarily charged with burglary, two counts of theft (value between $750 and $50,000), and possession of a controlled substance. Stephens was arrested and preliminarily charged with burglary and theft (value between $750 and $50,000).

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