Two Arrested and Linked to Seven Burglaries and Thefts in the Area
FORT PAYNE, Ala. On Tuesday, December 21, Kathryn E. Smith (19 of Cleveland, TN) and Tristan Wade Grider (20 of Cleveland, TN) was arrested for a string of theft and burglaries that have occurred in three different states over the past year. With the information provided to us at this time, it shows that Smith and Grider have been in our area for about two weeks. They have been linked to seven burglaries and thefts in the Hammondville, Valley Head and Mentone areas. Officers, Deputies and Investigators had been looking for these two for about a week before they were found.
This investigation began on Monday, December 14, when Mentone Police Department received a call from a citizen reporting a gold vehicle with two subjects, pull into a driveway. One male subject got out of the vehicle and took a package off of a porch from a home on AL 117.
On Friday, December 18, Mentone PD received a call reporting a burglary on Road 1941. Mentone PD called DeKalb County Sheriff's Office requesting assistance. Homeowners reported guns, TVs, etc., stolen during the burglary. Mentone PD started extra patrol and requested extra patrol from DCSO as well.
On Saturday, December 19, a Mentone officer found some items, from the burglary on Road 1941, at a popular pull off spot on County Road 89. The items found were perceived to be hard to sell, trade or pawn.
On Monday, December 21 at approximately 11:30am Mentone Police Department received a call about a burglary in progress on County Road 89. When officers arrived on scene a gold vehicle was backed up to the front door of the house and the subjects fled out the back door into the woods. Mentone PD called DCSO, ALEA and Valley Head Police Department for assistance. While officers, deputies and state troopers were searching the area, DeSoto Rescue Squad launched a drone to assist in the search. Also, DeKalb County Investigators were called in to process the scene. When the subjects fled, they left their vehicle, two cell phones and a wallet with a Tennessee driver's license belonging to Smith. Items from a separate burglary, were also found in the vehicle.
Later that day, a citizen notified the police of a vehicle that had just dropped off two subjects at a gas station in Hammondville. Before deputies could arrive, the two had already left. The witness provided a description of the two, which matched a description of the subjects, and also a description of the vehicle that picked them up. A be on the lookout was then issued. A Volunteer Fire Fighter spotted the vehicle near Henagar and notified the authorities. He then followed the vehicle to a residence in Jackson County. Deputies and Investigators from Jackson County responded, along with Investigators with Henagar PD. Kathryn E Smith (19 of Cleveland, TN) and Tristan Wade Grider (20 of Cleveland, TN) were arrested on scene. Smith was charged with Burglary 3rd (x 5), Theft of Property 3rd, Theft of Property 2nd (x2), Criminal Mischief 3rd (x2). Bond is set at $58,500.00. Grider was charged with Burglary 3rd (x5), Obstructing Gov. Operations, Theft of Property 2nd (x3) and Criminal Mischief 3rd (x2). Bond is set at $64,500.00.
A third subject has been identified in assisting in the burglaries and warrants have been issued. This subject is believed to be in Bradley County Tennessee. Grider is also wanted out of Bradley County TN, and is believed to have fled the state to escape prosecution.
DeKalb County Sheriff Nick Welden said of the incident: "This is definitely a great effort by all first responders who know the importance of being vigilant. It's great to know we are all on the same team and work together as well as we do! Thanks to Mentone Police Department, DeKalb County Sheriff's Deputies, DeKalb County Investigators, ALEA, DeSoto Rescue Squad, Henagar Police Department, Jackson County Sheriff's Office, Valley Head Police Department, Bradley County Sheriff's Office, in Tennessee, for providing info on the three subjects and Pearl River County Sheriff's Office, in Mississippi, for providing info on Grider and Smith, for stopping a spree of thefts and solving several cases that have devastated our rural areas during what is supposed to be a happy time of the year. Check our website for the Naughty list!
"God Bless!" Concluded Sheriff Welden.