Two trucks that were stolen from the Barren County Road Department barn last weekend were recovered Wednesday in separate locations.
The theft is similar to one that occurred Dec. 28 at the same facility on County Barn Road, and law enforcement agencies believe the incidents are linked to other thefts in several counties. Kentucky State Police issued a release Thursday identifying a suspect and asking for the public’s help finding him.
Thomas Upton, 33, of Glasgow, is believed to be “armed and extremely dangerous,” according to the release. He is described by state police as 6 feet, 1 inch tall, 190 pounds and white with blue eyes and brown hair. Anyone with information about Upton is urged to call KSP or a local police agency.
Upton is suspected in as many as eight auto thefts in Barren, Warren, Hart and LaRue counties. An all-terrain vehicle that was stolen Monday might also be related, according to a Barren County Sheriff’s Office release. The red Honda 300 EX was removed from a trailer at a residence on Willie Groce Road.
In both incidents at the county barn, the building was entered through a rear window and the vehicles were later found abandoned.
Barren County Road Supervisor Johnny Kinslow said the window had been locked, but the lock was torn off and the window was pushed in “by force.” The same window was used both times, but it had been repaired after the first theft, he said.
The KSP release reminded the public to not leave running vehicles unattended and not to leave keys in vehicles. “Many of these thefts had occurred due to the owners’ leaving their keys in their cars,” the release said.
Kinslow refused to answer a question about whether the trucks’ keys were kept in separate locations in the barn. He then declined to answer a direct question about whether the keys were in the trucks’ ignitions.
“That’s information you do not need to know,” he said. “I’m not giving out that information; it’s not public knowledge.”
Kinslow said he knows of no connection between Upton and any road department employees. Upton has never been employed by the department, but Kinslow believes a relative of Upton lives in the general vicinity of the barn.
Law enforcement officials recovered the county’s white 2002 Chevrolet Silverado on Cleveland Avenue near Sorenson Avenue on Wednesday evening after someone reported seeing it there, said Mike Houchens, public information officer for the sheriff’s office. The county’s white 1999 Chevrolet 3500 was also located that evening with the assistance of KSP in a wooded area off U.S. 31-E, about a mile south of the city limits, he said.
Kinslow said the tank and brine applicator that had been on the Silverado were gone, as were various tools and an air compressor contained in the utility bed of the Chevy 3500. Both trucks were damaged, as had been the 2004 GMC Sierra pickup that was stolen in December and later recovered on Merry Oaks-Railton Road.
Items that suggest drug activity had occurred were found with the Silverado, Kinslow said, and Houchens said hypodermic needles were recovered. Drug-related items had also been found in the Sierra when it was recovered, Kinslow said.
Houchens said it is likely that at least two people were involved in the weekend thefts.
“We’re just hoping to get some good, reliable information on this so we can stop [these crimes],” Houchens said, noting that BCSO, KSP and the Warren County Sheriff’s Office are working in conjunction on the case.
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