Detectives searched North Georgia Auto Salvage and Sales at 1029 Wilson Road in Rossville shortly before noon Tuesday, Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson said.
Multiple agencies found 13 stolen firearms on the property, worth about $5,000 he said. Authorities believe the firearms were stolen from Fort Oglethorpe.
Two men have been arrested in connection with Tuesday’s developments in the case, Wilson said. Police are looking for another suspect.
Arrested were Gordon Scott Summey, 35, of Chattanooga, and Troy Evett, 30, of Ringgold, each charged with 13 counts of firearm possession by a convicted felon. Summey was also charged with theft by receiving stolen property.
Summey is owner of North Georgia Auto and was released on a $18,000 bond Wednesday night, Wilson said. He is scheduled to appear in court October 25.
As of late Wednesday, police were looking for Charles Ray Blakemore Jr., a Catoosa County resident, the sheriff said. Blakemore’s warrant stems from an investigation by the Fort Oglethorpe police involving mini-warehouse burglaries.
Wilson said the theft ring’s operation covers four counties — Walker and Catoosa counties in Georgia, and Hamilton and Bradley counties in Tennessee — stretching from Fort Oglethorpe to Cleveland, Tennessee.
“It’s a pretty big operation,” he said. “We are still pursuing leads and hope to keep the ball rolling.”
Authorities believe Blakemore was carry out the thefts while Summey and Sean McDaniel, of Rossville, acted as “the fence” for the crimes, Wilson said.
First arrest was made last week
On Friday, May 20, authorities arrested a Rossville pawnshop owner as part of the theft ring. He is facing more than two dozen charges, including 15 counts of theft.
The arrest of 33-year-old McDaniel followed a two-month investigation involving three law enforcement agencies, Sheriff Wilson said.
“This is part of an ongoing investigation and the first of hopefully more arrests to come,” Wilson said Monday.
The agencies plan to get enough evidence for search warrants on a group of other individuals involved in the theft ring, he said.
McDaniel owns JR’s Pawn Shop at 519 Chickamauga Ave.
In a search of McDaniel’s residence at 574 Salem Road in Rossville last Friday, police recovered a large cache of stolen property worth $15,000, the sheriff said.
The items included two utility trailers, two utility trailers with altered vehicle identification numbers, two welders, four oxygen tanks, generator, Forrestor camouflage rifle, U-Haul tow dolly, and Chevrolet engine with transmission, he said.
Authorities believe the items were stolen from Hamilton and Bradley counties in Tennessee.
The owners of the welders, utility trailers, tow dolly and engine have been identified.
While searching the residence, officers found marijuana and a small amount of methamphetamine, Wilson said.
McDaniel has been charged with 15 counts of felony theft, five counts misdemeanor theft, two counts of possession of property with an altered vehicle identification number, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of meth.
He has been released from jail on $40,000 bond. He is scheduled appear in Walker County Superior Court in October.
Agencies that carried out the investigation included the Walker County Sheriff’s Department, Catoosa County Sheriff’s Department and Chattanooga Police Department’s auto theft division.
The Fort Oglethorpe Police Department also aided the group in Tuesday’s property recovery.
Mini warehouse theft connection
Fort Oglethorpe authorities are seeking Charles Ray Blakemore Jr. in connection with a rash of burglaries at area mini warehouses, Police Chief Doug Howell said previously.
According to Fort Oglethorpe Police Detective Dave Scroggins, Bobby Eugene Blakemore, and Robert Lee Moore Jr. were arrested and charged with burglary and felony theft in connection with the mini warehouse thefts a few weeks ago.
In one Fort Oglethorpe mini warehouse burglary a stolen gun cabinet contained over $10,000 in firearms.
Fort Oglethorpe Police urge anyone who may have purchased the weapons or have any information as to where the weapons might be to call the Fort Oglethorpe Police Department
Officers are also seeking assistance in identifying materials seized or items suspected to be stolen property.
For more information, call the Fort Oglethorpe Police Department at 866-251