UPDATE: Thousands in Stolen Property Recovered; Two Men Arrested

UPDATE 7/16/14 @ 6:34 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Two men are behind bars, and stolen property valued at tens of thousands of dollars is now being archived.

West Virginia State Police busted a stolen property ring Wednesday night.

They found hundreds of items in a car and a lot more in a West Huntington home.

The bust could be credited in part to smart work by several workers at a Cabell County business.

Workers there said the two men showed up twice, looking to sell a stolen piece of equipment. That raised a red flag.

"He had a big story to tell, and it just didn't all add up," said Shelly Rose.

Rose and her co-workers helped West Virginia State Police bust the men selling stolen property around the region.

"We had a couple guys come in our shop and wanted to sell us a brand new spray equipment," Rose said.

Police said Michael Wright and Joe France, both of Cabell County, were driving around in a car filled with more than 300 stolen items.

Troopers also found knives and drugs inside.

Rose said the men were adamant to sell the sprayer.

"He left his cell number and his name about the piece of equipment that he had," Rose said.

During a raid at Wright's home along Washington Avenue, police found a lot of other evidence, including a ledger to account for the roughly $15,000 in items and when they were sold.

Police still aren't sure if the men actually stole it all.

"I just couldn't believe somebody could be that stupid to do that," Rose said.

Rose said it was the handheld paint spraying equipment that raised eyebrows.

"Started making some phone calls to see if one had gotten stolen in the area," she said.

It turns out the sprayer, along with a lot of the items, came from an eastern Kentucky business, Portable Solutions Group.

"One particular tool, which is unique to the industry, was the unit that was used to track the suspects down," said Danny Trautwein of Portable Solutions.

Business owners said thousands of dollars of their equipment was smuggled through a hole cut in their fence.

"Half of our materials and tools were in that Volkswagen Jetta," said Trautwein.

In the video, you can see police arresting Wright and France.

Workers at the shop called 911 after the men showed up for a second time.

"I would hope that if somebody rips us off, which they have before, I would just hope somebody would be willing to step up to the plate and call them on it," Rose said.

Both men are now behind bars on a handful of charges.

Michael Wright and Joe France are no stranger to the courts. Cabell County records show several arrests for both in the past.

West Virginia State Police said they do suspect others may be involved in this.

Police also said they found other drug-related items in the home, including needles, razor blades and heroin-type paraphernalia.



ORIGINAL STORY 7/15/14 @ 11:19 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Thousands of dollars worth of stolen items have been recovered with the arrest of two men on Tuesday.

Michael Wright, 27, of Huntington and Joe France, 35, of Barboursville were arrested by W.Va. State Police.

Troopers say they arrested the men after they tried to sell a paint sprayer that had been stolen from a business in Greenup County.

According to the criminal complaint, troopers found more than 300 stolen high-priced tools and power equipment in their car.

Troopers also raided a house on Washington Avenue in Huntington looking for more stolen items.

Troopers say the men are tied into the drug trade.

"People making calls about the traffic and the neighbors complained," West Virginia State Police Sgt. Greg Losh said. "You've got a house down the road that was a meth lab, so a lot of troubles around this certain area."

Both men are charged with complicity, transportation of stolen property into the state, receiving and transferring stolen goods. Wright is also charged with misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance.

Both are in the Western Regional Jail.


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