YELLVILLE, Ark. – Dozens of Arkansas residents made the trip to Yellville Thursday in hopes of recovering items that were stolen from them.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Department recently recovered three trailer loads worth of stolen items – believed to be the largest recovery in the county’s history.
“Fortunately we’re not faced with this on a regular basis,” says Marion County Sheriff, Clinton Evans. “We had to put in a little thought on how to best serve the people and the department time wise.”
Evans’ deputies spread out the stolen items, which ranged from electronics to bongos, on the floor of a shed just north of Yellville.Yellville.
It’s believed most of the items are from the tri-county area – Marion, Baxter and Boone Counties – but some items have been traced to burglaries from as far away as Texas.
Investigators said most of the items were taken in the last three months. Anyone with an open burglary case or simply had something go missing, was invited to take a look at the stolen loot.
“I’m taking a chance,” says Johnny Lee, who made the trip to Yellville from Harrison. Lee was hoping to recover a stolen trailer but it wasn’t among the hundreds of items in the shed.
“I thought it could be here,” he says. “You just don’t know, it could be anywhere I guess.”
Others, like the Williford family, had better luck. Some of the items they recovered Thursday were supposed to be Christmas presents for family members.
“It’s not everything but it’s a few items,” says Ruby Williford. “I hope they find some more stuff because we had a brand new rifle, still in the box.”
The person who was possibly the most excited about being reunited with long lost items was Marion County resident, Linda Denmark.
“My stepdad made that in northern Canada when he was a boy,” she says, as she points to a metal weather vane.
Not only did Denmark find a family heirloom, she also recovered a grinding stone that sat next to where her late husband’s ashes were buried.
“I didn’t ever expect to see it again,” she says.
“When [a deputy] said, ‘do you recognize that?’ I couldn’t believe it. It was like the same devastation I felt was undone when I saw that,” Demark says.
It’s unknown how many individual burglaries the room represents but two men, Matt Stephenson and Robert Cobb of Marion County, were arrested in connection to the theft ring.
“I am surprised at some of the items they have taken,” says Evans. “Something that don’t mean as much to your or I, could mean the world to somebody else.”
As items were recovered, there were cross-referenced against open burglary cases with the Sheriff’s Department.
Sheriff Evans believes the suspects may be connected to more stolen items than what was on display in the shed Thursday.