The Van Buren County sheriff’s office reports that it has cleared several felony theft cases with a single arrest.
Investigators with the sheriff’s office were in the Damascus area on Nov. 27 following up on an investigation of several cases of theft in that area. Damascus Police, assisted by Arkansas State Police and Arkansas Highway Police, were at Pleasant Ridge apartments where they had received information that a stolen truck was parked. Sheriff’s investigators arrived minutes later to find that the truck had been reported earlier that day.
Perryville Police had been involved in a pursuit of a suspect, believed to be Billy J. Rowell of Bee Branch. Rowell was believed to be breaking into cars and stealing contents, the sheriff’s office said in a news release. Rowell fled Perryville Police on foot, leaving behind a stolen vehicle, the statement said. The vehicle was reported stolen from Double D Oilfield Services, along with other items, on Nov. 10, 2012.
The news release said Rowell stole another truck — a red Ford F150 — avoiding Perryville Police, and drove it to Damascus where it was found Nov. 27. When law enforcement officials attempted to make contact with Rowell, he went out a bedroom window and onto the roof of Pleasant Ridge apartments where he jumped off and fled on foot through a field and into the yard of a residence, the news release said. Rowell was apprehended in the yard by pursuing officers.
Rowell, 23, of Bee Branch is currently facing multiple felony charges in Van Buren, Boone and Marion counties. Rowell has felony charges in Marion County and has been given a $25,000 bond on those charges. He is currently being held on a $20,000 bond for felony theft by receiving and fleeing for the Damascus, according to the sheriff’s office. In total, Rowell is a suspect in thefts or attempted thefts involving 13 felony thefts and two misdemeanor thefts throughout Van Buren County, mostly in the Bee Branch/Damascus area, the news release states. Rowell also has a probation hold out of Faulkner County at this time with a "no bond" status.
In November there were the following theft reports:
* Nov. 10, 2012 - Double D Oilfield Services reported a 2004 Ford Truck and equipment items stolen. This was the vehicle found in Perryville Nov. 17.
* Nov. 14, 2012 - Wayne Holden reported a 2005 Ford F350 (valued at $35,000) stolen. This truck was recovered by deputies in the Bee Branch area.
* Nov. 14, 2012 – Dayco Construction reported a 20-foot goose-neck stock trailer stolen. Investigators say the persons responsible for the Holden theft also are responsible for the trailer theft.
* Nov. 17, 2012 – PEH building supply in Choctaw reported several thousand dollars in rolled copper wire stolen. Sheriff’s investigators say the truck stolen from Double D Oilfield Services was used in this theft. Multiple felony charges will be filed in this case in days to come, the news release said. Investigators are still working this investigation as well as others that Rowell may have been a part of, the sheriff’s office said.
Each of these cases can be tied to Rowell as either the main suspect or as receiving the stolen property, the news release states.
"With as many felony thefts and felony thefts by receiving that we can prove Rowell either committed or was involved with, this investigation will take several weeks to conclude," said Sheriff Scott Bradley. "This should slow down our thefts in the Bee Branch area as well as other counties."