Man accused of stealing more than $200,000 worth of tech across three states

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CHIPLEY, Fla. (WDHN) — A man found living in Headland faces numerous theft charges after thousands of dollars of allegedly stolen telecommunications equipment were recovered during his arrest.

Sheriff Kevin Crews held a conference on the matter Thursday morning and was joined by representatives from CenturyLink, AT&T and the Henry County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the sheriff’s office, Carl Thomas Edmondson III is being accused of stealing more than $200,000 worth of communication technology from AT&T and CenturyLink.

“June 24 is when our company realized there was some theft going on so our corporate security group reached out to some other companies such as AT&T and Windstream to try to get some more information,” CenturyLink’s Christie Mason said.

Left to Right: Ray Walker (ATT), Christie Mason (CenturyLink), Sgt. Eric Blankenship (Henry County Sheriff’s Office), Cpl. Travis Calhoun (Henry County Sheriff’s Office), Sheriff Kevin Crews, Deputy Levi Yohn ( Washington County), Sgt. Daryl White (Washington County) Lt. Kenny Brock (Washington County), Sgt. Jason Cook (Washington County)

The burglary spree spread across “three states and more than 10 counties” and last several weeks before law enforcement made the arrest Monday.

It all began with a call to Crews, who was contacted by CenturyLink Corporate Security about a series of thefts from junction boxes across the region.

Washington County investigators began their search for the suspect, and on July 8, the sheriff’s office received another complaint, this time from an AT&T technician who told them about a theft on Orange Hill Road.

According to the sheriff’s office, the theft of telecommunications equipment has a double impact on both the companies and their customers. Losing the equipment can affect the functioning of landlines as well as local internet.

Crews said some of the equipment was worth “four and five thousand a piece.”

“You got one stack that’s right up in front me that has 10 or 11 in that stack so you can do the math at what’s that’s valued at,” he said.

As the search continued, investigators were able to find the suspect’s vehicle by piecing together its tag number through covert surveillance.

The vehicle was found to be a rental, which led them to identify Edmondson as the renter.

“With the assistance of Henry County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Dale County Sheriff’s Office, and Ozark Police Department, Edmondson was taken into custody and thousands of dollars in equipment was recovered,” a release from the department states.

Edmondson is in the Dale County Jail on hold for burglary of an unoccupied structure and grand theft charges in Washington County. He is said to be resisting extradition.

More charges are pending.

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