Four Newton County teens were arrested last week for their alleged involvement in the burglary of approximately $100,000 worth of property from a home in Walton County on April 6.
Michael Keavy, 18, Jessica Taylor, 18 and Spencer St. Clair, 18 both of Porterdale and Michael Cagle, 18 of Covington were arrested by a joint task force and charged in Walton County with two counts of burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary and possession of alcohol. Taylor was booked on the conspiracy and possession of alcohol by a minor charges.
Taylor and St. Clair were also charged in Newton County for theft by receiving and possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute. Taylor was not charged with the burglary as she was not present during the crime.
According to Detective Bill McGee of the Walton County Sherriff's Office, the three men broke into a home around midnight on April 6 and made a return trip in the early morning hours.
The stolen property including three handguns, jewelry, Rolex watches and 50 to 60 bottles of liquor and wines the victims had collected from around the world.
McGee said a maid discovered the burglary when she reported for work on the morning of April 7 to find forced entry through the basement door.
According to Porterdale Police Department Chief Wayne Digby, the departments converged in Porterdale to formulate the special task force and then executed a no-knock search warrant of a house on 1 Maple Street in Porterdale, where Keavy, Taylor and St. Clair reside.
During the search for the stolen property, the task force stumbled upon and seized drug related paraphernalia and what appeared to be marijuana.
Digby said the WCSO received the warrant to look for the stolen property, but the drugs and related items were unexpected.
"In accordance to the plain view doctrine, we acted on the drugs and such when we found them and received warrants on that," he said. "We took them (Taylor and St. Clair) to the Newton County jail for questioning and they said that stuff was theirs."
The house was empty at the time of the search, but officers from the PDP later returned to arrest Taylor and St. Clair after receiving an anonymous tip.
The PDP took the two into custody on April 9. Keavy and Cagele were arrested one day later. Keavy was apprehended in Rockdale County while Cagle was picked up at the Maple Street residence.
Officers obtained a second search warrant and returned to the home to recover more stolen property after it was discovered some of the reported items were still unaccounted for.
According to McGee, the task force recovered approximately 99% of the stolen property between the search of the home and various pawn shops including the three guns.
McGee said the suspects confessed to their individual involvement in the crime, and all signs point to Keavy as the mastermind behind the heist in what he refereed to as a crime of opportunity.
"He (Keavy) was the one who said he knew where they could get some items," McGee said. "It looks like they all sat down and decided what to do after that."
McGee was pointed out that Taylor was not involved in the burglary, but she was present at the time the suspects conspired to pull off the heist.
Both McGee and Digby were pleased with the joint effort and said the three departments that formed the task force worked well together.
"We got a lot of cooperation from Mickey Kitchens of the NCSO and Chief Digby down there," McGee said. "This is one of those cases where everything fell together like it was supposed to. It doesn't always work out that way, but this time it did."
"Everyone worked well together," Digby added. "We were pleased to help and are thankful for everyone's effort throughout the investigation."
St. Clair and Taylor are being held in the Newton County Detention Center awaiting extradition, while Keavy and Cagle are being held in the Walton County Detention Center.