A stolen credit card used in Madisonville sparked an investigation that uncovered a large cache of thousands of stolen goods.
(WBIR-Monroe County) Several agencies worked together to uncover thousands of stolen items from a Meigs County home that had been stolen from six counties.
According to the Monroe County Sheriff, a stolen credit card used in Madisonville sparked the investigation that uncovered the large cache of stolen goods.
"In my 22 years I've never seen nothing this large scale as far as recovery," said Scott Webb, Detective Captain with Madisonville Police Department.
Using surveillance video, a woman who used a stolen credit card to rent a Bobcat that was never returned was matched with a woman who had shopped in a Wal-Mart in Dayton.
The woman was then identified as Winter Kirby. Her husband, Michael, is also a suspect.
After a McMinn County address didn't check out, authorities investigated a Meigs County home.
There, investigators found a SUV matching the surveillance video, the missing Bobcat, a pontoon boat, two jet skis, at least 50 rifles, dryers, refrigerators, and thousands of more items including a stuffed black bear. The Kirby's also allegedly stole a 16-foot trailer from Tim Yates, Monroe County Mayor.
Detectives said the duo regularly targeted homes under construction.
"They took the kitchen island cabinets and everything out of one kitchen," said Webb. "They took washers and dryers, there was still a dryer that had clothes in it."
The couple told authorities they did not steal the items.
Now, authorities are working on returning the goods to the victims.
"It makes you feel so good inside, a victim gets to get their stuff back. I've seen people almost cry, they thought they would never get it back," said Webb.
"In a couple of weeks I'm hoping we'll have it all inventoried. Then we're going to run some ads in the paper for victims and if they've got a police report they can come by and visit," said Sheriff Jackie Melton, with Meigs County Sheriff's Department.
Wednesday officials were hauling off the items. They had been on the scene since Monday afternoon, when they arrested the Kirby's.
As for a motive, detectives speculate they were using the stolen items to build and furbish a new home on their property.
"With lumber and everything they've been buying with the credit card, it appears they were going to try to built a home because they had some of the cabinets put in this stick built home," said Webb.
The stolen items came from Meigs, Monroe, Polk, Rhea, Bradley, and McMinn counties.
Webb estimated the value could increase to over $500,000.