An investigation into the theft of a stolen church van used to steal property at a Monticello apartment complex led to the arrest of two Monticello men in connection with a number of alleged crimes, according to information in a news release from the Drew County Sheriff’s Office.
Hunter Barnett, 22, of Monticello, is suspected of the theft of a motor vehicle, theft of a firearm, residential burglary, and theft of property.
Reggie Wherry, 40, also of Monticello, is suspected of residential burglary, theft of property, possession of crystal methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Barnett and Wherry’s alleged break-in and thefts at the apartment complex were captured by a video surveillance camera.
A video, dated December 28, was given to Drew County Sheriff Mark Gober by Kenny Cox, a criminal investigator with the Monticello Police Department. The video showed a van backed up to the side door of an apartment complex on Bowser Road, south of the University of Arkansas at Monticello. In the video, a masked white male is seen repeatedly going in and out of the apartment. He was taking property from the apartment and placing it into the van. It was later learned that the van shown in the video was stolen from Shady Grove Baptist Church in Drew County, according to the news release.
“The male in the video resembled a person I’ve known as being a suspect in other criminal activity in Drew County,” Gober said.
Gober, along with Drew County Chief Deputy Sheriff Brian Slaughter and Allen Edwards, a criminal investigator with the Drew County Sheriff’s Office, subsequently interviewed Hunter Barnett.
During that interview, Barnett is alleged to have admitted to breaking into the apartment on December 28 and stealing several items, then driving the van to Deerfield Drive where he left it before walking through a wooded area to the Spring Branch subdivision in Monticello where he lived, according to the news release.
Barnett’s interview also yielded information about a previous break-in allegedly involving Wherry.
Barnett reportedly said that he and Wherry broke into the apartments the day before, on December 27, while an unknown female remained in Wherry’s vehicle.
With that new information, law enforcement officers viewed the December 27 video from the same surveillance camera. It reportedly showed Wherry and Barnett breaking into the apartment.
In addition to the thefts at the apartments, Barnett is also alleged to have admitted that days before breaking into the apartment he stole a .22 caliber handgun from a Drew County residence on U.S. 425 South, according to the news release.
Wherry was later arrested on January 11 at his grandfather’s home by the Monticello Police Department and the Drew County Sheriff’s Office. At the time of Wherry’s arrest, law enforcement officers reportedly found a crystal-like substance and a pipe in his car, according to the news release.
District Judge Bruce Anderson set bonds for the two men at a first appearance hearing on January 11.
Barnett’s bond was $30,000 on Monticello Police Department charges and $30,000 on Drew County Sheriff’s Department charges.
Wherry’s bond was set at $25,000 on Monticello Police Department charges and $10,000 on 10th Judicial Drug Task Force charges.
“This is an example of the great teamwork between your local agencies to solve crimes in the community,” said Drew County Sheriff Mark Gober.