WFSU Local
6:39 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Wakulla Corrections Officer Among Three Arrested In String Of Lawn Equipment Thefts

Three men face charges of fraud and grand theft for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars’ worth of lawn equipment in Wakulla County—one of the men is a Wakulla County correctional officer.

Authorities say 27-year-old Joshua Martin of Crawfordville was part of a team that stole lawn and tractor equipment. Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Keith Blackmar says Martin then stored most of the stolen goods at his home.

“They are friends and they had been working together to acquire and store this property both here [Wakulla] and in Franklin County as well,” said Blackmar.

Blackmar says the scheme also involved stealing Martin’s own equipment. He’s accused of falsifying a police report and filing a bogus insurance claim to try to recoup what he estimated as about $40,000 of stolen property.

“Martin was involved in reporting a case back in January where he claimed that his truck, trailer, some lawn equipment, and a couple of firearms were stolen. So, he filed a claim with his insurance and received a little over $20,000 on that,” Blackmar added.

Martin and two alleged accomplices, Ralph Pigott of Crawfordville and Brandon Atkinson of Carrabelle, turned themselves into police and have been released as they await trial.  Blackmar says all three men may be connected to several other cases in surrounding counties. All the equipment stolen from victims in the Wakulla area has been returned.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on twitter @SaschaCordner.