Arrest Made In Theft Case

Over the past year, Highland County has experienced a string of thefts, and Captain Ronald Wimer of the Highland County Sheriff’s Office spoke with AMR to provide more detail.

Captain Wimer explained the thefts had begun in the spring and summer, happening over a wide area of the county including Doe Hill, McDowell, Monterey and Mustoe, among other places. The thefts were primarily the removal of catalytic converters and some personal property from automobiles, but there were also some power tools, such as chain saws and weed eaters stolen from buildings. The value of the catalytic converters for thieves is the metals contained within, primarily platinum – depending on the type they are, the converters can bring as much as $3,000.

He noted that when the thefts first began, the Sheriff’s office changed procedures, including increased patrols as a deterrent, which helped the problem, but when the amount of patrols had to be reduced, the thefts began again. Some of these latter incidents included the thefts of firearms from members of the McDowell Volunteer Fire Department’s personal vehicles while they were on a fire call, and catalytic converters from vehicles, both scrap and waiting for service, from Hiner’s Auto in Monterey.

Saturday, December 18th, the Sheriff’s office arrested Shaun Gwinn of McDowell based on warrants received from Hanover County on similar thefts there which were tied back to Highland. Captain Wimer said investigations are ongoing. He suggested residents be cautious of parking vehicles in any public place with easy access – public parking lots are hot spots for thieves to hit. Proximity to lights, cameras, motion lights or other methods which could alert you is recommended.

Editor’s note – the title and content of this story has been edited for accuracy.

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

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