More evidence revealed in Weinberger case

Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009 10:12 PM
Last updated 11:17 PM
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EATONTON, Ga. – By day Jay Weinberger lived the kind of successful life that many businessmen live. But, for unknown reasons, when darkness settled in he became a thief, authorities say.

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Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills says Augusta businessman Jay Weinberger was responsible for at least six trailer thefts.  Billy Hobbs/Morris News Service
Billy Hobbs/Morris News Service
Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills says Augusta businessman Jay Weinberger was responsible for at least six trailer thefts.

Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said today that the 47-year-old Mr. Weinberger “was apparently living a double life.”

According to police accounts, Mr. Weinberger ended his life early Saturday when he shot himself in the head with a 9mm pistol – just minutes after he stole a concession trailer in Putnam County. Mr. Weinberger was spotted traveling along Harmony Road by Deputy John Saunders without taillights and with an expired tag on the trailer.

Mr. Weinberger was co-owner with his brother, Mark, of Weinberger’s Furniture and Mattress Showcase in Augusta and at Lake Oconee in Greene County.

Sheriff Sills said the deputy attempted to make a traffic stop and activated his blue lights and siren, but Mr. Weinberger did not pull over for about three miles. When he finally stopped, authorities believe he shot himself.

Sheriff Sills said Mr. Weinberger was responsible for at least six trailer thefts.

“He clearly was doing this alone,” the sheriff said. “He didn’t need any other help to do what he was doing.”

The trailer that Mr. Weinberger was pulling with a brand new Chevrolet Silverado pickup was owned by the Lake Oconee Elks Lodge No. 2849. When authorities arrived on the scene, they found that someone had tried to remove the Elks decals from one side of the trailer.

Two cans of decal remover were found inside the cab of the truck, which was registered to Weinberger Enterprise, Sheriff Sills said. He added that one of the cans had been used.

Sheriff Sills said that two trailers also were found at the family business warehouse in Augusta and that two others were found at the family business in Greene County. Those trailers had been stolen and their serial numbers removed. One of the trailers found at the business at Lake Oconee had been repainted and bore the name Weinberger’s Furniture and Mattress Showcase on the sides. It contained furniture pieces.

The sheriff said that had it not been for Jay Weinberger’s brother, Mark, authorities might never have known about the two trailers in Augusta.

“His brother has cooperated with us 100 percent,” Sheriff Sills said. “It’s a real tough time for that family.”

At least two of the trailers seized by authorities were empty. Two others were described as concession trailers and contained cooking equipment. One of the trailers and a boat trailer, containing stainless steel cooking equipment, were seized from the property of a man in Putnam County, who was said to be an acquaintance of Jay Weinberger.

Sheriff Sills said the man, whom he would not identify, is not connected to the trailer thefts. The man told authorities that Mr. Weinberger asked his permission to park the trailers on his property.

“We’re fairly certain that Mr. Weinberger was taking the stolen trailer that he was pulling to that property,” Sheriff Sills, noting that Mr. Weinberger was about two miles from that property when he was stopped.

The Elks trailer was stolen between 3:30 and 4 a.m. Saturday.

Sheriff Sills said he expects the case to be wrapped up within a couple of weeks.

“We just have a few things that we’re waiting on from the autopsy at this point,” he said.

Comments (14) Add comment
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sonic_imperial
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sonic_imperial 09/08/09 - 09:29 pm
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what exactly was he going to

what exactly was he going to benefit from by having all these trailers?

Batman
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Batman 09/08/09 - 09:32 pm
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So sad... I'm praying for

So sad... I'm praying for this good family.

nofrills
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nofrills 09/08/09 - 09:33 pm
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Theres alot they are not

Theres alot they are not telling us

oh man
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oh man 09/08/09 - 09:40 pm
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there is no way this man

there is no way this man killed himself over a few lousy trailers. He had access to good lawyers and money to buy himself out of it. the law enforcement needs to find the truth; the real truth so this family can handle this better. the subject needs to be closed with the truth and prayers for the family.

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 09/08/09 - 09:59 pm
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How is it that you're so darn

How is it that you're so darn sure they aren't doing everything possible to find the truth? It may be that the only one who had any idea about "the truth" behind all this was laid to rest Sunday. Just consider for a moment how little this business really has anything to do with you personally, outside of your morbid curiosity. Go do something worthwhile with your time instead of speculating endlessly about someone who obviously was very troubled.

cajunnana2000
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cajunnana2000 09/08/09 - 10:27 pm
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Now that we can comment,it

Now that we can comment,it was nice of his brother to cooperate with law enforcement AFTER the death of his brother. I wonder what the situation would be like had he cooperated BEFORE.

WMartin
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WMartin 09/08/09 - 10:44 pm
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What leads a man to make a

What leads a man to make a split-second decision to kill himself after being pulled over for what could have been a mere traffic violation? A stolen trailer? I don't buy into that . . . by all accounts, he was a loving father, husband, brother, and a community leader. There's something about this story that pulls us in. We want to know more because we are shocked and we care about this man and his family. We want to know because we wonder whether this could ever happen to us or to someone we love.

Augustan
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Augustan 09/08/09 - 11:28 pm
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Fiat Lux, while I completely

Fiat Lux, while I completely agree with everything you said, I have to admit that Real has a good point. This story is fascinating. It's like some Sundance favorite you rent because it got 80 plus percent on rotten tomatoes. And it's got you. God bless Billy Hobbs, because he wrote this story for the Chronicle and presumably is running down the rest of the story. If we are to believe anything about why these people got into journalism. And God bless the soul of Mr. Weinberger, and God bless his brother and the rest of his familiy.

opiner
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opiner 09/09/09 - 05:18 am
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Augustan, use the pen icon

Augustan, use the pen icon after your post to edit.

justus4
113
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justus4 09/09/09 - 06:16 am
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Boy, did "they" circle the
Unpublished

Boy, did "they" circle the wagons on this one. They pulled out every stop. No stone was unturned on this one, including the ability to short-circuit the standard info gathering operations. That all points to something big, so the little guy will have to expose the facts. And that "cooking equipment" found in the second trailer; what exactly was being cooked?

alumna
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alumna 09/09/09 - 01:07 pm
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justus4, the cooking

justus4, the cooking equipment probably belonged to a person who travels around to fairs and festivals like Arts in the Heart and cooks hotdogs and funnel cakes.

corgimom
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corgimom 09/09/09 - 01:57 pm
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Ask yourself why Jay

Ask yourself why Jay Weinberger, who owns a furniture store, would steal a cooking trailer. For once, Justus makes some sense.

leaveitatthedoor
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leaveitatthedoor 09/09/09 - 06:21 pm
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let his family mourn......

let his family mourn...... they are the real victims here.....

pommom38
1496
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pommom38 09/09/09 - 07:50 pm
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how are people posting to a

how are people posting to a public site preventing the family from mourning?? if they are busy mourning, they don't have time to worry about comments being posted or said.
and if they do get online and read them, they are asking for the heartache.

Discussionstarter
501
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Discussionstarter 09/09/09 - 08:46 pm
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Someone in the business had

Someone in the business had to know what was going on. Trailers were parked on company property. Trailers were being painted with the business name. The business needs to be investigated. Just because you give to the community does not mean you can steal from others. Period.

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