Two Jennings County residents have been arrested in connection with the theft of firearms, a chainsaw and money from a home south of North Vernon.
Billy J. Ellis, 35, and Stacy A. Lucas, 30, both of Commiskey, face Level 4 felony charges of burglary, Level 5 felony charges of theft and Level 6 felony charges of trespassing after the incident was first reported on Dec. 12 at a home in Lovett Township, according to a news release from the Jennings County Sheriff’s Department.
Ellis also faces a Level 6 felony charge of criminal mischief.
The pair were arrested Wednesday after a traffic stop on Interstate 65 near Scottsburg. Property from the theft was recovered in the tan Ford pickup Ellis was driving at the time of the stop, made by Jennings County Detective Sgt. Jim Blevins and Lt. Mike Mowery.
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Additional stolen property, including a motorcycle taken from Jackson County, was found during a search of Ellis’ home in Montgomery Township in Jennings County, police said.
Police reported finding more stolen property in a motel room in Scottsburg, where the pair had been staying.
Mowery said police initially made contact with Lucas and Ellison on the morning of Dec. 12, when county officers Aaron Green and Kevin Hall were patrolling Lovett Township and stopped a tan Ford pickup matching the description of a suspicious vehicle at a residence.
Green stopped the vehicle he had seen leaving that residence and talked with a male and female who told him they were in the process of moving.
With no proof they had done anything wrong, Green let them go on their way, Mowery said.
Green then drove to the home where he had witnessed the truck leave to investigate and knocked on the door with no answer. Green then made contact with the homeowner, who told Green that he was not home and no one should be at his residence.
During a subsequent search of the home, the 75-year-old man told police he was missing six firearms including a Winchester Model 97 shotgun, a chainsaw, a porcelain jug containing pennies, a luggage bag, several rolls of quarters, silver dollars and cash.
The man told police his father had given him the Winchester Model 97 shotgun with the understanding he would never sell the gun but pass it on to his son, and that made it priceless to him, Mowery said.
After taking the report, Green remembered seeing a chainsaw in the back of the truck he had stopped leaving the home.
Knowing the vehicle description and information of the occupants from the earlier traffic stop, officers began looking for the truck.
Sheriff Gary Driver and Colonel Jeff Day also published information about the burglary on the department’s Facebook page and contacted other police departments for any help with the case.
On Wednesday, Day received information that Ellis and Lucas might be at a location in Scott County.
Mowery said with help from the community, Scott County Sheriff’s Office, police departments at Crothersville, Scottsburg and Seymour, Indiana State Police and the FBI, nearly all of the stolen property was recovered.
One item that has not been recovered is a Model 036 Stihl chainsaw. Anyone with information regarding the chainsaw can contact the Jennings County Sheriff’s Office at 812-346-5111.
Both Ellis and Lucas were being held on $2,605 bonds at the Jennings County Jail on Saturday.