Officer catches entering auto ring in the act, one man arrested

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By Patrick Yost

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Sometimes, the dog is right.

Lt. Dietrich Roland, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, says his dog “Cujo,” a pug variety, woke him up at 2 a.m. inside his family’s residence in the Fields of Madison subdivision off the Rutledge Highway needing to go outside.

So, the lieutenant cooperated.

While the dog was outside, Roland says, he glanced down the street and saw a bizarre sight. Several people, he says, were moving back and forth from vehicles parked on the streets of the subdivision to a Honda van. “They had an assembly line going,” he says.

Lt. Roland says he then secured his dog, ran back into the house, secured his credentials, weapon and vest and drove his patrol vehicle at the group of suspects.

“They just scattered,” he says.

Lt. Roland called for backup and gave chase. He was able to detain one man, Anton Valento Watson, 34, Smyna. Four or five other suspects fled, both in a vehicle and on foot.

After more officers arrived, Lt. Roland and another deputy walked the subdivision and found shattered windows of vehicles and stolen items strewn on the ground. Reports state that at least 12 vehicles with $34,000 worth of items were affected by the gang. Officers also located items in the Honda van, which had been reported stolen, that indicated vehicles in the Wynnbrooke subdivision had also been entered. A deputy drove to the Wynnbrooke subdivision and confirmed that vehicles there had been broken into. A Chrysler left at the front entrance of the Fields of Madison subdivision had also been reported stolen, Lt. Roland said.

Lt. Roland said the manner and operations of the thefts are similar to recent wide–spread thefts at both the Madison Lakes subdivision and the Arbors subdivision.

“They’ve been hitting places all over,” he says. Found in the Honda were electronic items, credit cards, wallets, tools and other equipment.

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