MOULTRIE, Ga. – Brian Steven Keith and Daniel Cory Wilson were charged with theft by receiving stolen property, while Nicholas Ryan Romero and Michael Steven McMurphy were charged with theft by taking in connection with the theft of off-road vehicles that were displayed at the Sunbelt Expo.
On Nov. 3 at 10 p.m., a Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office deputy came across a red Tracker off-road 4x4 UTV parked along the side of the road. The driver of the UTV fled on foot after the deputy went to retrieve his jacket from the car. The UTV was towed to the impound lot in the hopes of finding the identity of the owner; at the time it hadn’t been reported as stolen. The driver was identified later as Brian Steven Keith.
On Nov. 7 at 6 p.m., deputies responded to a residence on Dean Matthews Road in reference to a white male trespassing on the property. When deputies arrived, the man fled on a green Tracker UTV into the woodline while authorities followed. During the chase, the man abandoned the UTV and fled on foot. The deputies caught him and recovered the UTV, which had not been reported as stolen either. The UTV was towed to the impound lot in hopes of identifying the owner. The subject detained was Johnny Paul Johnson.
The next morning, on Nov. 8, Colquitt County Investigator Kat Johnson looked into the serial numbers of the UTVs and discovered that the Textron company was the owner of Tracker and Arctic Cat brand ATVs and UTVs. In researching the company, it was found that the closest dealerships were located in Macon and Tallahassee and that the company had had a demonstration at the recent Sunbelt Agricultural Expo. The company had sent four UTVs and three ATVs to the Expo, which were left in the Spence Field loading dock waiting to be transported to the next event once the Expo had concluded.
After interviewing several suspects, it was determined that the vehicles were taken on separate nights about a week after the Expo ended by several different offenders. Upon completing the interviews, Nicholas Romero, Daniel Wilson, Brian Keith and Michael McMurphy were charged.
At this time, investigators along with the Road Patrol deputies have recovered two of the UTVs. The investigation is still ongoing. Anyone with any information on the whereabouts of the remaining vehicles is encouraged to contact Investigator Johnson at (229) 616-7460. The Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office is still attempting to locate a black Tracker 800SX UTV, a red Tracker 800 UTV, a red Tracker 570 ATV, a green Tracker 570 ATV and a black Tracker 700 ATV. It is also possible that these vehicles have been painted or spray-painted a different color.