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

BrandonJoshRalph1015.jpg
Wakulla County Sheriff's Office
Brandon Atkinson (left), Ralph Pigott (right), and Joshua Martin (picture protected due to Corrections officer job) were recently arrested on charges of grand theft and fraud.

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.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.