James L. Kelly, 43, of the 2600 block of Drayton Drive, is charged with theft by deception, according to Burke County sheriff’s Sgt. Daniel Lowe.
Lowe said Kelly stole at least $8,000 worth of tools and equipment from Burke County businesses, along with performing similar schemes in Jefferson, Emanuel and Richmond counties. Information from those counties wasn’t immediately available.
On Oct. 10, Kelly purchased a $1,749 trailer from Dixon Wrecking Co., 349 Georgia Highway 24 West in Waynesboro, according to a Burke County sheriff’s incident report, and later stopped payment on the check.
On the same day, Kelly wrote two checks at Blanchard Equipment at 138 Georgia Highway 80 West in Waynesboro. The first one was for $911.55, and the second was for $966.37, according to the report. He had purchased a pole saw, a backpack blower and more. JoAnn Walden of Blanchard Equipment said both checks came back with a stop payment Oct. 18, the report says.
Walden got his license plate, and investigators were able to track down an acquaintance who led investigators to the some of the stolen equipment. The acquaintance has not been charged.
The trailer was found Nov. 1 by Waynesboro Police Department Investigator Gene Bozeman and returned to the business, but some of the equipment Kelly stole is still missing, Lowe said.