CCSO busts major theft ring, recovers thousands of dollars of property; 4 arrested

Left to right are Ronald Eric Bevington, Shaina Michelle Rajput, Janissa Carolyn Dover and Merlin Eugene Thomas. (Cullman County Sheriff’s Office)

HOLLY POND, Ala. – The Cullman County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) on Monday busted what it says is a major theft ring, recovering thousands of dollars in stolen property, one of the biggest recoveries in the last 20 years.

A media release said the CCSO Special Response Team (SRT) and investigators executed a search warrant at a residence along County Road 1728 in the Holly Pond community, where they found 40 grams of methamphetamine, $5,300 in cash, stolen guns, trailers, guitars, tools, TVs, tablets and other items.

Four people were at the residence, one of which fled the scene and was located after a 3-mile track by K-9 Deputy Copper.

The suspect who fled, Ronald Eric Bevington, 52, of Holly Pond is charged with trafficking in illegal drugs, first-degree receiving stolen property and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. He also had numerous warrants.

Merlin Eugene Thomas, 38, of Holly Pond is charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. He also had a failure to appear warrant.

Janissa Carolyn Dover, 27, of Cullman is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

Shaina Michelle Rajput, 36, of Hanceville is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. She also had numerous failure to appear warrants.

“This is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, property recoveries we have had here at the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office during my 20 years here. No one dislikes thieves more than we do, and it’s our goal to locate the owners and return as much of this stolen property as we can,” said Cullman County Sheriff Matt Gentry. “I am also glad our deputies were able to arrest these four individuals and also seize these drugs and recover this property in a safe manner.”

All four suspects are being held in the Cullman County Detention Center without bond. Other charges may be pending as the investigation continues.

Residents who believe any of the stolen items belong to them are asked to the call the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office Investigation Division at 256-734-0342.

More photos of recovered property can be viewed on the Cullman Sheriff’s Facebook page.

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Wendy Sack