Metal theft suspect held

Published 1:37 am Saturday, September 10, 2011

A week-long investigation led Brewton Police on a trail from a factory to a scrap yard and to the home of a man suspected of stealing metal, officers said.

Gainie Spears, 45, of Brewton was arrested Thursday and charged with second- and third-degree receiving stolen property.

Lt. Steven Ferguson said the suspect’s trail was tipped off when employees at Brewton Ironworks contacted the department.

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“They said they had gotten a call from a scrap yard south of Brewton about some metal the owner believed came from Brewton Ironworks,” Ferguson said. “When the employees from there went to the scrap yard they identified the metal as being from their factory.”

Ferguson said after days of investigation, the trail led them to suspect Spears.

“(Spears) gave us permission to search around his home and we found metal that was identified as being from Brewton Ironworks,” Ferguson said. “He was then charged for having the material at that time.”

The value of the items recovered was estimated at just more than $1,000, Ferguson said.

Ferguson said leaders at Brewton Ironworks say they are looking into installing additional surveillance equipment in order to help deter these kinds of thefts.

“We are continuing an investigation into this case and others like it,” Ferguson said. “We are expecting to make more arrests in the near future.”

Spears was was still being held on $5,000 bond Friday.