A Catawba County man is accused of stealing trucks from businesses in five different counties including Lincoln, deputies said.
Frederick Charles Washburn, 50, of 126 48th Avenue in Hickory, was jailed Tuesday in the case and placed under a $50,000 secured bond.
Earlier this month, deputies recovered a stolen vehicle from Auto Sports by the Lake in Denver, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Denver business officials reported the incident to deputies on Dec. 20, stating the vehicle had been stolen sometime between Dec. 17 and 20, according to an agency press release.
The owner of the business also told deputies that based on store surveillance, he spotted a BMW in the store parking at the time — the driver cruising through the property looking at various vehicles.
The owner said the man in the BMW later got out of his vehicle and opened the door to a 2007 Ford F-250 on the lot, before taking the truck key and closing the door, the release said.
Deputies followed up on the owner’s tip by talking to a private investigator that works for a Hickory auto dealership.
The investigator told officers he, too, spotted the suspect at the Catawba County business and later followed Washburn to his Lake Hickory home.
As detectives with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office worked with the Hickory Police Department on the case last week, deputies said they learned the suspect was also connected to a number of other stolen trucks throughout the region.
Officers soon recovered three Fords, valued together at more than $160,000, that Washburn had taken from auto businesses in Statesville, Gastonia and Hickory, the Sheriff’s Office said.
An additional 2011 Dodge Ram, stolen from Cleveland County, was also recovered.
The case is ongoing, the Sheriff’s Office said, as detectives continue to investigate the origin of a set of keys they found inside the suspect’s BMW.
Detectives believe the keys may be linked to auto dealerships located between Hickory and Rock Hill, S.C.
Washburn faces a number of charges in the case and is set to receive additional charges from other area law enforcement agencies in the near future, deputies said.
The suspect is currently in jail under one felony count each of larceny and possession of stolen goods along with one misdemeanor count of larceny.