By Tara Vreeland, The News On 6
CREEK COUNTY, Oklahoma -- A three month long investigation into a trailer theft ring has led to one arrest so far and the recovery of stolen property to the tune of at least $150,000.
Tulsa Police said more arrests are expected.
Police recovered flatbed, gooseneck, and cargo trailers, tractors and vehicles, not to mention the property and equipment inside the trailers, including some guns.
"It's really a matter of three to five minutes, you can back up, hook onto a trailer whether it's loaded or unloaded and be gone and nobody knows you were even there until that unsuspecting victim comes home at night," Jason Willingham, Tulsa Police, said.
Tulsa Police, along with the Tulsa County and Creek County Sheriff's Office, served search warrants.
Michael Patterson, 45, was arrested and booked into the Creek County Jail on Tuesday. Patterson has a history of offenses including drug possession. He spent time in jail for second degree burglary in 2005 to 2008.
"It is very gutsy," Willingham said. "Typically what we find is a ring and you'll have one guy and several people that work for him. They'll go out and steal property and bring it back to the one individual."
The estimated values of the trailers range from $500 to $20,000
"It is a very intricate and detailed organization. These guys are professionals. Let's face it. They are not your Sunday afternoon trailer thieves," Willingham said. "These guys are living off the proceeds that they make from stealing property from someone else. Unsuspecting people are buying it."
Tulsa Police say it will take quite a while to sort through the loot and to try and find the owners, that's only if the owner's have records of serial numbers.
They also recommend locking your hitches and putting chains through the trailer's wheels and parking the trailer where thieves can't see it.