Wells allegedly strikes again before arrest

Published 5:40 pm Friday, September 25, 2009

Authorities caught up with Timothy Wells Jr. on Friday morning, but not before he allegedly stole money from another store Thursday night.

Wells was arrested at a trailer on County Road 151, off of County Road 7, around 10:45 a.m. Police were led to his whereabouts by a tip given to a Chilton County Sheriff’s Office investigator.

He was arrested without incident, according to Clanton Police Chief Brian Stilwell. Wells remains in the Chilton County Jail on Friday afternoon without bond.

Wells faces charges of theft from an incident Thursday at the Exxon Station near Interstate 65. He allegedly entered the store around midnight, making off with the cash register while a store employee was in a back room.

On Tuesday, Wells allegedly robbed the B.P. Station near McDonald’s at gunpoint, also stealing the entire cash register.

Stilwell said the teenager from Verbena was found Friday in the same clothing he had on from surveillance footage in Tuesday’s robbery.

“He had a miserable three days on the run, staying away from us,” said Stilwell.

Authorities think Wells had been staying at the house he was found in since Tuesday, but Stilwell said no charges have been brought against people at the residence.

“They have been very helpful with the case,” said Stilwell. “As of today, we don’t anticipate any charges.”

The police chief said evidence from several robberies this summer was recovered at the home.

Stilwell thinks Wells stayed in the area because of its familiarity.

“This was his network. He doesn’t have a base outside of Chilton County,” Stilwell said. “This was were all his people were and his ability to hide was.”

Stilwell said Wells’ arrest was a team effort. Clanton police, along with Chilton County sheriff’s deputies and officers from Jemison, have worked the case around the clock since Tuesday. U.S. Marshals have also offered assistance.

“Since Tuesday, officers have been out looking for him,” said Stilwell. “It was great cooperation.”

Detectives think Wells might have had help with Thursday’s theft. Police are looking for a possible getaway driver.

The manhunt ends the search for a man who should have never been released from prison. An apparent mix-up in paperwork allowed to teenager to be let out of prison Sept. 8 despite a court order requiring him to stay there.

Somehow the court order wasn’t communicated clearly between the circuit clerk’s office and the Chilton County Jail. On Thursday, Circuit Clerk Glenn McGriff said the mistake was a “breakdown in communication” and that the paperwork was filed to go to the county jail. Sheriff Kevin Davis said the jail never received papers to keep him locked up.

Wells was first arrested July 1 for allegedly trying to steal a 4-wheeler from Action Motorsports in Clanton. He posted bond July 9 and was released from jail.

The Verbena resident was arrested again Sept. 1 on several charges, including robbing the Shell Sunny Foods Store on July 14.

After the second arrest, Assistant District Attorney Jessica Sanders asked that Wells’ bond from the initial burglary and theft charges be revoked.

District Court Judge Rhonda Hardesty granted the request the same day, Sept. 3, requiring that Wells be held without bond on those charges until a Sept. 17 hearing, according to court records.

Before the hearing could take place, Wells was released from jail Sept. 8, after posting bond on charges in connection with his second arrest, not considering the court order on the first charges.

Wells has been charged with a rash of break-ins and robberies this summer.

From his previous arrests, Wells faced two counts of first-degree robbery, seven counts of third-degree burglary and nine counts of theft of property.

Anyone with information about the case should call Clanton detectives Freddie Mayfield or Keith Maddox at 755-1194. Tips may be left anonymously.