Police: 9 arrested during home burglary investigation

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Police say a home in the Crooked Creek community was burglarized on the weekend of May 31st through June 2nd while homeowners were out of town. Several items were taken from the home including an SUV.

Officers say the burglary started an investigation with detectives and officers with the Laurel County Sheriff's Office. During the investigation from June 19th through June 25th, 9 people were arrested in connection to the burglary.

Multiple warrants were issued after leads narrowed police to several homes in Whitley and Laurel County, as well as a vehicle.

"The first suspect we arrested early on in the investigation, led us to get search warrants issued for a residence on Echo Valley Road," says Laurel County Deputy Gilbert Acciardo.

Officers did not find any of the stolen property at the house.

"However, we did find a lot of drugs. We found eighteen grams or more of crystal meth. We found drug paraphernalia," adds Acciardo.

Police say the homeowner Jonathan D. House, age 47, Nellie L. Lewis, age 29, Cassi C. Colston, age 23, and Louis D. White, age 22, were arrested for drugs and paraphernalia.

The search warrant of the home then developed another search warrant for a house on 11th Street in the Whitley County area of Corbin, where some of the stolen items were found.

After finding the items on 11st Street, police took the next lead to Boone Avenue on the Laurel County side of Corbin on Tuesday.

"We learned that the reported stolen vehicle was possibly at a residence on Boone Avenue. We traveled there and did find that it had minor damage but we did find it," Acciardo says.

As a result, homeowner Christopher L. Johnson, age 42, was then arrested for stolen property.

"Then, we got a lucky break because we had been looking for two additional suspects that were actually the main players in this burglary," says Acciardo.

When officers got a tip of a tan-colored Ford Escort description of a vehicle of the alleged burglars, a pursuit began when police found the suspects driving.

"We did have to force a stop on that vehicle, one of our sergeant detectives got injured during that pursuit arrest. And, we arrested a male driver and a female suspect," says Acciardo.

Officers say the man driving the Ford Escort was Anthony J. Popejoy, age 39, and the passenger was Alecia B. Rains, age 35.

Upon a search warrant in the vehicle law enforcement says they found stolen items from the burglary.

All nine arrested had an array of charges, stemming from the investigation.

Hatfield was charged with second-degree conspiracy to commit burglary.

Lewis, Colston, and White were charged with first-degree trafficking of a controlled substance - methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Police charged House with first-degree trafficking of a controlled substance - methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of a handgun by a convicted felon.

Johnson was charged with receiving stolen property under $10,000, for the stolen SUV. He was also charged for a bench warrant in Laurel District Court.

Officers charged Bertrand as well for a bench warrant in Laurel District Court when he was found at Johnson's home.

Popejoy was arrested for DUI, resisting arrest, fleeing or evading police in a vehicle, third-degree assault on an officer, and wanton endangerment. Popejoy was also charged for a Laurel County parole board violation warrant.

Rains, who was in the car with Popejoy when he was arrested, was charged with receiving a stolen firearm, first-degree burglary, and receiving stolen property under $10,000.

All nine charged were taken to the Laurel County Detention Center.

Police say they expect other arrests to be made in the Crooked Creek home burglary.

Officers added they now have new leads, through the investigation, to other burglaries in the area.

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