Stolen trailer found with community’s help

Published 4:03 pm Tuesday, November 29, 2016

From Staff Reports

The Clanton Police Department has recovered a stolen trailer with the help of the community and social media.

Chief of Police Keith Maddox said, “The way that the identification was made using Facebook shares from church members seems to me to be a touch of divine intervention in this case. It is also a testament to the power of social media when used correctly.”

The trailer had been stolen from Eastmont Baptist Church in Montgomery and was found on Nov. 20 by Sgt. Donald Giles of the CPD as he was on his way home after a shift.

Giles knew that Peach Automotive had been the target of multiple thefts recently, so he stopped by on the way home to do a quick patrol. He saw a vehicle pulling a trailer from the front of the business, which was closed.

Giles stopped and spoke to the driver, who was anxious to end their conversation, according to Giles. While talking to subject, he noticed that the trailer had recent grinder marks where the serial number should be on a trailer of that type.

Giles detained the subject and contacted Detective Robert Bland to assist him. Bland was discussing by phone whether or not to impound the trailer due to the missing serial number, when the supervisor’s wife overheard the conversation and showed her husband a photo of the missing trailer on Facebook.

A former fellow church member of the family had shared the post. Bland was able to use the photo to identify the trailer and discovered later that traditional methods of identification would not have been possible because the vehicle had never been entered into the computer database.

Nicholas Burnette of Montgomery was arrested at the scene for receiving stolen property and was placed in the Chilton County Jail.