Police in several counties are looking for a man with expensive taste who they said is behind several burglaries from Williamsburg to Winchester.
Kentucky State Police, Williamsburg City Police and the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department are just some of the agencies in southern Kentucky who are looking for a man wanted in a series of thefts involving high-priced jewelry.
Police in Williamsburg believe 28-year-old Larry Brandon Shelton is the ring leader in what they call a multi-county jewelry theft ring spanning from Whitley County to Clark County.
Chief Wayne Bird of the Williamsburg Police said that the over one dozen thefts involve an excess of $100,000 worth of missing gold, silver and jewels.
Bird said that none of the agencies had any idea that the thefts were related until they began to exchange information and found similar methods of operation between the various burglaries.
“Basically what they were doing was forcing the door open, going straight for the master bedroom, I mean they were over looking guns, electronics, everything and going straight for the jewelry,” said Bird.
Bird said that in all the scenarios, the suspects stole a victim’s pillow case to transport the jewelry.
“I don't feel safe right now, I loved my home and I don't like my home right now,” said Kelly Bryant whose home was burglarized on Feb. 1.
The Whitley County High School Sports Trainer said that after having around $50,000 worth of family heirlooms stolen, she is upset that the people she thinks are responsible who she trained in football years ago, including Larry Brandon Shelton, have been in jail and released.
“I am very upset I am very sad that they were on the street to begin with,” said Bryant who is pointing the blame at two elected judges who sentenced the people involved.
Police have already arrested Shelton's brother Steve who is also believed to be in involved.
“Larry Brandon Shelton is the ring leader, no pun intended there with the jewelry,” said Deputy Shawn Jackson of the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department.
“The suspects are all closely related, it's similar to a family business I guess you could say.”
Shelton’s brother Steve said that he is not involved with his brother's alleged crimes.
“I am sure there's more than a few people that are committing crimes and I think just because of the reputation that we hold, it brings a lot of suspicion our way.”
Steve Shelton was arrested on an outstanding warrant for flagrant non-support and police plan to present evidence against him on Larry Brandon Shelton’s case which will be presented to a Grand Jury on Feb. 6.
Larry Brandon Shelton was serving time in prison for a previous burglary when he was released on parole and then put on home incarceration. Law enforcement officials said that he cut off his ankle bracelet and is now considered a wanted fugitive.
His brother claimed he has not had contact with him, but believes that there are more people involved, but denies that he had anything to do with the crimes.
“I hope that they do find the people that were involved in this,” said Shelton.
Shelton said that he believes the motives for the jewelry thefts are more than just receiving the cash.
“Don’t do drugs, or you’ll end up right here,” said Shelton.
Bird said that the price of gold being so high could have something to do with the fact that these individuals are overlooking other goods, but admits he agrees with Shelton.
“I would venture to say that it is all drug-related,” said Bird.
Though she lost a small fortune in precious jewels and metals, Bryant says she cannot put a price tag on the things she lost.
“They were pieces that my husband had reset for me, pieces my mother gave me before she passed away that can't be replaced, actually there's just no value that you could put on this to me, no value at all,” said Bryant.
Bryant said that she hopes that the arrest of Steve Shelton will lead to the finding of Larry Brandon Shelton and allow her to get her family heirlooms back.
Bryant said she hopes no one else has to endure this and once the suspects are all caught she wants to see them stay in jail.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Williamsburg City Police at 606-549-6038 or the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department at 606-549-6017.