Trio charged with trashing home on Ninevah Road

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By Ben Carlson

The builder who offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those who trashed one of his homes on Ninevah Road is one step closer to dishing out the cash.

A tip to the Lawrenceburg Police Department resulted in the arrest Sunday night of a juvenile and two 18-year-olds. Each is charged with second-degree burglary and first-degree criminal mischief.

Chad Edwards and Jordan Belt, both of Lawrenceburg, and the juvenile are charged with causing an estimated $18,000 in damages to the house, built by Mike Gay, owner of Mike L. Contractor Inc., according to Deputy Brian Wooldridge of the Anderson County Sheriff's Department.

Edwards and Belt were charged and transported to the Franklin County Regional Jail. A $15,000 cash bond was set on Belt. No bond amount was set for Edwards as of Monday morning.

The juvenile's named was not released.

Wooldridge said Edwards and the juvenile were picked up Sunday night by Lawrenceburg police Sunday night for questioning and were subsequently charged. Wooldridge picked up Belt later Sunday night and charged him.

The trio was apparently trying to strip copper wire and plumbing from the home, which Gay said was in the process of being sold when the damage occurred last month.

"From what I saw, it doesn't appear they got enough copper to bother with," said Wooldridge.

Following the incident, Gay said serious damage was done to the home.

"This is a brand new house and they tore it all to pieces," Gay said the day after the incident, clearly agitated that someone did so much damage to one of his properties.

"They busted the dishwasher, busted the commodes, smashed holes in the walls and poured paint all over the walls and windows."

"They really didn't steal enough to amount to anything," he said. "They might have gotten $15 worth of copper."

But, he said, that doesn't mean they weren't planning to steal more.

"I don't know if someone scared them off, but they weren't done tearing stuff out," he said. "They had unplugged the water heater to rip it out and turned off the main power breaker."

Gay said it appeared the thieves attempted to enter through the rear of the home by breaking out windows. He said they apparently couldn't get through those windows so they moved to the front of the home, broke more windows and climbed inside.

He said he heard about other break-ins in the Alton area and, as a result, asked Deputy Brian Wooldridge with the Anderson County Sheriff's Department to keep an eye on the place when he was on patrol.

Wooldridge did just that and spotted a broken window in the front of the home around 4 a.m. Monday morning.

"He called me and told me I needed to come down there," said Gay. "The paint was still wet on the walls."

"What caught my eye was paint on the two side windows," Wooldridge said Monday afternoon. "When I came back around, I noticed the front windows were broken. It likely happened an hour or two before I came along and somebody spooked them off."

Gay said the home was insured, but that the vandalism will likely cost him the opportunity to sell it to a prospective buyer who was close to making a decision.