ERWIN — Two Erwin men were arrested Wednesday on multiple theft charges following a joint investigation by the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department, the 1st Judicial District Drug Task Force and the Madison County, N.C., Sheriff’s Office.
Kevin Roberts, 22, 2 Jones Branch Road, was charged locally with theft over $10,000, two counts of theft over $1,000, one count of theft under $500 and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Donny Ray Lewis, 24, 122 Jones Branch Road, was charged with theft over $10,000, two counts of theft over $1,000 and theft under $500.
According to UCSD reports, on Nov. 16, Lewis and Roberts stole several vehicle batteries from a sawmill on Little Higgins Creek Road. The following day, the two stole tires, rims and about 16 car batteries from a Unicoi County auto dealership, according to reports.
On Dec. 13, Roberts and Lewis allegedly stole a 2006 Toro Workman from a residence on Guy Erwin Road.
“The defendant started and drove the Toro through an electric fence and off the victim’s property,” the affidavits of complaint for Lewis and Roberts said. The reports also said the Toro was left at a pull-off area along Spivey Mountain Road.
On Dec. 14, Roberts and Lewis stole two ATVs from a Spivey Mountain Road residence, with one of the ATVs valued at $6,000 and the other at $4,000, according to reports.
Reports state that on Tuesday, investigators searched Roberts’ residence, and he was found to be in possession of a .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol and two shotguns. Reports state he was previously convicted of felony vandalism in Unicoi County.
On Tuesday, Roberts and Lewis confessed to stealing the batteries from the sawmill and car lot, as well as the other items from the dealership, according to reports. Reports state the two took the batteries and other items to a scrap yard to sell. They also admitted to taking the Toro and ATVs, which they hid on U.S. Forest Service property.
The items were all recovered.
Reports state Unicoi County investigators learned Roberts and Lewis were looking for a four-wheeler to steal while assisting Madison County authorities with thefts occurring there. It is believed the two have been involved in multiple burglaries and thefts in Madison County, according to the UCSD release.
“Madison County Sheriff Buddy Harwood and Madison County Investigators recovered thousands of dollars in stolen property incident to the investigation,” the release said. “At least 13 counts of residential burglaries, multiple auto burglaries and several larceny counts have been been under investigation.”
Both Roberts and Lewis are being held in the Unicoi County Jail on a $50,000 corporate bond. They are scheduled to appear today in Unicoi County Sessions Court.