Police: Irvine sword thief dropped ID at crime scene

IRVINE, Ky. (WKYT) - Police say a man stealing swords and computers from a business left his ID behind as he fled the scene.

The man who owns the AJET General Store says he encountered 38-year-old James Brantley the day before the break-in, when he says Brantley tried to steal a sword by sticking it down his pants.

"He was pretty slick about it, his downfall was he was the only man in the store," said Earl Kelly.

Kelly says he caught James Brantley leaving the store February 13. He followed Brantley to his home a few blocks away and confronted the man.

"I just kind of picked him up from the front to back, set him up on the sword and I gave him the option, he could reach in and take it out or I would," Kelly said.

He says he told Brantley to stay out of his store. Police say Brantley ignored that request and returned to the store that evening and tried to break out a window with a cinder block. Police were called and a witness told them she saw Brantley leaving the store.

"We were actually in the process of issuing an arrest warrant for him," said Irvine Police Chief Brad Smith.

The next evening police say Brantley tried for the third time to steal from the store. They say he got away with a lot of merchandise, but left something behind.

"Once officers began to canvas the general area in very close proximity was located an ID with the name James Brantley on it," Chief Smith said.

Kelly says Brantley walked more than $7,000 worth of cellphones, computers, and swords back to his home.

"The getaway vehicle was a grocery cart with a cooler tied behind it," Kelly said. "They just followed the path of merchandise all the way to his house."

When police from Irvine and Ravenna arrived at Brantley's home they found a shopping cart from the nearby Dollar General store in his front yard. The cart was loaded with the stolen cellphones, computers, and swords in Brantley's front yard.

Brantley refused to open his door so police got a warrant to break it in. They say once they were inside he was arrested and confessed to the theft.

James Brantley is charged with criminal mischief, burglary, being a persistent felony offender, theft by unlawful taking, and possession of a controlled substance.

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