|Updated: 6/06/2013 9:14 am
||Published: 6/05/2013 10:09 pm
Cherokee County deputies say they've caught the man responsible for stealing trailers.
They arrested Robert Mathews, who they said stole 17 trailers in May.
"A couple of weeks ago we noticed we were having a lot of trailer thefts," said Cherokee County Undersheriff Jason Chennault. "They were nice trailers, newer trailers. All around the same size."
He showed FOX23's Dontaye Carter a picture of one of the recovered trailers. Chennault said Mathews was in the process of driving off with another stolen trailer when he was arrested by the Sequoyah County Sheriff.
"From what we can tell he pawned, in northwest Arkansas, he's pawned 15 trailers," said Chennault.
He showed Dontaye receipts of stolen trailers pawned in Claremore and another in Poteau.
Chennault said Mathews sold the trailers for $1,200 apiece.
"I hope they get them all back," he said.
A business owner who didn't want to be identified said he's glad deputies caught the man they said was responsible for stealing his trailer. Now he's making sure he keeps his other trailers more secure.
"All these out here got locks on them now," he said.
The business owner has only had one trailer stolen.
He said the frustration now lies in getting his trailer back from an Arkansas pawn shop.
"It's very frustrating because it doesn't belong to them, it belongs to me," he said.
Arkansas law states in Title 18 Paragraph 202 in section A and B if any pawnbroker fails to return property to the true owner then the true owner could resort to legal action. If the owner is successful in the legal action the pawnbroker has to pay all court expenses.
If the pawn shop was in Oklahoma then the Sheriff's Office would put a hold on that item and then it would be taken to a property hearing with a judge. That process can take months. But the business owner says more should be done to hold pawn shops accountable.
"(There should be) stiffer penalties on the people who buy it," he said. "They know it ain't right when they buy it."
Mathews faces three counts of grand larceny in Cherokee County. He also faces one count of grand larceny in Muskogee County, Sequoyah County, Rogers County and Leflore County.