By CHAD ABSHIRE
WILLIAMSON - A man who was charged with the theft of seven motorcycles and ATV’s from a warehouse in early November 2011 pleaded guilty yesterday to a lesser charge.
Ronald “Ronnie” Pope, 40, of Williamson, was arrested on Dec. 19, 2011, following a chase that began behind the Three Way Club and ended on Third Avenue. He was charged with multiple counts of grand larceny, breaking and entering and conspiracy, but pleaded guilty to a lesser felony charge of breaking and entering as a part of a plea bargain between the state and his defense attorney, Diana Carter-Weidel.
Four of the seven vehicles had been recovered already. As part of the bargain, Pope had to reveal the locations of remaining three missing vehicles — one motorcycle and two ATV’s.
According to Williamson Chief of Police C.D. Rockel, Pope said that one of the ATV’s that he had stolen was, in turn, stolen from him, along with the motorcycle. The final ATV was sold for money and drugs.
According to Rockel, Pope and two juveniles broke into the Third Avenue warehouse on two separate occasions during the late night hours Nov. 5, and into Nov. 6. One juvenile is in a juvenile institution and the other was acquitted.
The warehouse was used by used by Hatfield-McCoy Power Sports, a business in Goody, Ky. The estimated value in stolen property ranged from $30,000 to $50,000 in total, Rockel said.
The following are the four vehicles that had been recovered by the Williamson Police Department:
• In mid-November 2011, shortly after news of the theft broke, two motorcycles were located in the home of one of the juvenile’s grandparents, in Williamson. Rockel said that the grandparents were not aware that a Honda 450 and a Honda 80 were in their basement.
• The very next day, a Honda CRF 250, was located laying against the side of a house on Fifth Avenue and Oak Street. Rockel said it was most likely abandoned there because the theft had, as of then, “become too hot.”
• In early February, a Kawasaki 65 was found underneath an abandoned home at 103 West Fifth Ave. The house was scheduled to be demolished in the near future. Rockel said an anonymous tip led him to the find.
Pope was sentenced by Judge Michael Thornsbury, receiving one to five years. Rockel said that Pope would get credit for time served.
Despite a plea and sentencing, the chief said that the WPD was not done investigating the case.
“The information he gave us turned up some leads, and we’re going to follow them,” Rockel said.
If anyone has information regarding the theft, they are encouraged to contact the WPD at (304) 235-2570.