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$400k in stolen vehicles, property recovered

Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 11:24 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 26, 2022 at 6:51 PM CST
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IZARD COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - Izard County sheriff’s deputies arrested a man suspected of purchasing $400,000 worth of stolen vehicles and construction equipment from a man he claims to have met on the side of the interstate in Jonesboro.

Blake Leamon Sutherland, 35, of Brockwell is charged with multiple counts of theft of property, theft by receiving, breaking or entering, furnishing a prohibited article, and possession of a controlled substance.

According to a Wednesday news release, the owner of a property on Newburg Road reported last week that someone stole a 1966 Kenworth Day-Cab truck, a 1991 Jeep Wrangler, a Ford F350 flatbed, and a gooseneck trailer with concrete construction equipment. The value of the stolen items was placed at $291,000.

After identifying Sutherland as a person of interest, deputies served a search warrant on two properties on Chapel Hill and Jumbo Roads.

When investigators arrived at the Jumbo Road location, Sutherland fled before detectives could speak with him.

While searching both properties, the sheriff’s office said deputies found the reported stolen items along with additional property reported stolen out of Craighead and Crittenden Counties. They also reportedly found another piece of equipment stolen in Texas.

“Officers worked well into the night Thursday (Jan. 20) and returned to both locations Friday and Saturday gathering evidence and making contact with various agencies that had reported the stolen equipment,” the news release stated. “In addition to the stolen property, a glass smoking device and a Ziploc bag containing 29.8 grams of a white crystalline substance tested positive for methamphetamine were found at one of the locations.”

On Friday, an investigator spotted Sutherland riding in a vehicle near the Melbourne court square and initiated a traffic stop. Before the driver could come to a complete stop, the sheriff’s office said Sutherland “bailed” from the vehicle and tried to run away. An officer caught him a short time later and arrested him.

“In a post-Miranda interview, Sutherland confessed he had removed the items (the victim) had reported stolen from Newburg Road,” the news release said.

He reportedly claimed he purchased the items in a “bundle” for $20,000 from a man named “Chip” that he met on the side of the interstate in Jonesboro.

Sutherland also reportedly said he bought a tractor and boat stolen in Crittenden County from the same man.

“Sutherland said he believed all the items he ‘purchased’ from Chip were stolen due to ‘Chip’ being a ‘shady character,’” the release said.

He also reportedly said an “unknown woman” stole a Honda ATV, crossbow, and a Marlin 30-30 rifle from a home on Jumbo Road and “gave them to him.”

Sutherland is being held in lieu of a $400,000 bond awaiting his next court appearance.

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