Two local men, Charles Jerome Hayes and Homer Renard Garner have been arrested for dealing in stolen property.
According to a probable cause affidavit obtained through the clerk of courts office, the two men were arrested last week following an investigation into a stolen tractor and zero-turn lawn mowers.
The affidavit states that Gadsden County sheriff’s investigators, acting on information from a confidential informant (CI) concerning a stolen tractor, went to a county resident’s home where they found a nearly brand new New Holland tractor with a front scoop and a small backhoe attached.
During the discussion with the resident investigators learned that the tractor had been purchased from Homer Garner and another man (not identified) with a check for $3,000. The resident provided a copy of the check to the investigators.
The value of the tractor and equipment was estimated at $15,000.
This happened in 2011.
The CI told the investigator in the affidavit that a four-wheel ATV and two zero-turn mowers were sold by the same suspects.
During the investigation it was determined that the tractor was believed to have been stolen from a Tallahassee Propane company lot.
The owner provided serial numbers for the tractor and the attachments and stated that there were two hooks attached to the front end loader.
The serial numbers had been removed, the affidavit said.
No mention was made about the fate of the tractor other than the possible owner was bringing paperwork to the GCSO.
On December 13, 2013 investigators contacted Garner and he told them he had gone with another man to the resident’s home to sell the tractor.
It was Garner, the affidavit said, that cashed the check.
Garner told investigators that he again acted as the “middle man” along with another individual and sold Charles Hayes two zero-turn lawn mowers a couple of years ago.
Garner told investigators that he gave Charles Hayes a third zero-turn mower to secure a grant that would assist him in fixing his building in the city limits of Quincy.
Hayes at the time was the director of the Quincy Community Redevelopment Authority.
Garner said the lawn mowers were located at Hayes’ residence.
In an interview, Hayes told investigators he had a conversation at his home with Garner about buying two John Deere zero-turn mowers, the affidavit states.
Hayes said Garner brought them along so he could look at them.
Garner told him to keep them and use them for a couple of days.
Hayes stated in the interview they agreed that he pay $4,000 for the mowers.
A couple of days passed, Hayes said, and he got a call from another individual stating that he needed his money.
Hayes said he then contacted Garner and gave him the money. He added that he noticed that the serial numbers were off when he was asked to return the mowers to the GCSO.
Further investigation led investigators to determine one of the mowers, a 757 model, belonged to the Jefferson County Board of County commissioners.
The other mower stolen was a 737 model from the Jefferson County Board, investigators were told.
As the investigation continued, another individual who was interviewed told investigators where the two mowers were located.
That individual said that Hayes had obtained information that the GCSO was looking for the mowers and had them moved to keep them.
Hayes, the person said, had instructed two men that worked with him in his lawn service to move them to a residence on
Willie Presha Road and hide them behind the house.
An interview with one of the employees verified they had been moved to Willie Presha Road after Hayes had stated “he had paid too much for them.”
The zero-turn mowers were seized that day by the GCSO.
Hayes has been charged with one count of dealing in stolen property, one count of obstruction of a law enforcement investigation, and one count of tampering with physical evidence.
Garner has been charged with two counts of dealing in stolen property.
This is an ongoing investigation and according to GCSO investigators there are more arrests expected as well as other charges pending.