Correctional center inmate arrested in theft

PARKERSBURG – An inmate at the Parkersburg Correctional Center has been charged with the theft of four aluminum trailers from a local business, officials said.

Robert E. Jones, 44, of Scott Depot, W.Va., a work release inmate at the correctional facility, 225 Holiday Hills Drive, was arrested on Thursday for the theft of four pull-behind aluminum trailers from Affordable Trailers on 1627 Murdoch Ave., said Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin.

Jones was charged with grand larceny and taken to Wood County Magistrate Court. He failed to post a bond of $10,000, Martin said.

Correctional center staff advised the police department Jones will be transferred to another facility in West Virginia.

Police were able to link Jones to the thefts, which occurred on three occasions between May 9 and June 12, Martin said.

The most recent theft was captured on video surveillance, Martin said. It showed an unknown suspect driving a black Dodge truck, Martin said.

The suspect drove onto the lot at Affordable Trailers, hitched up a 17-foot-long aluminum car trailer, and drove away, Martin said. The truck returned approximately 10 minutes later and repeated the process with an 8-foot utility trailer, Martin said.

On Thursday, a woman from Weirton, W.Va., called Affordable Trailers, claiming she had purchased a trailer from someone and had tracked the trailer back to the business, Martin said. The woman requested the title for the trailer because the person she had purchased it from did not have it available, Martin said.

Police went to Weirton and determined that she was unaware the trailer had been stolen when she had purchased it for $2,700, Martin said. Detectives interviewed witnesses to the sale and were able to identify Jones as the person who had sold the trailer to the woman, Martin said.

Detectives located two additional trailers stolen from the Affordable Trailers in Wellsburg, W.Va., Martin said. Police are still searching for the fourth trailer, Martin said.

During a different investigation, detectives were alerted that a black Dodge truck had been recently pulling into a vacant lot on Emerson Avenue and unhitching aluminum pull-behind trailers, allowing them to be hidden by the tall grass, Martin said.

Officers located the black Dodge truck involved in the thefts in Mineral Wells, Martin said. The truck was reported as stolen from Jefferson County, Ohio, Martin said.

How Jones obtained a stolen vehicle from Jefferson County, which is near the upper-most portion of the northern West Virginia panhandle, is part of the ongoing investigation, Martin said.