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3 under investigation for 20 vehicle break-ins

By Holly Hollman 340-2445

ATHENS — Unlocked vehicles were too tempting for a trio who authorities said could be responsible for up to 20 vehicle break-ins throughout Limestone County.

Athens and Ardmore police and Limestone County Sheriff's Department investigators are investigating the three for break-ins at apartments in Athens and neighborhoods in the Ardmore and Toney areas.

According to an Athens press release, police there have charged Justin Ray Gabhart, 20, of 30515 Highland Drive, Ardmore, Tenn., a 17-year-old Elkmont male and a 17-year-old Ardmore male with 10 counts of unlawful breaking and entering a vehicle.

They allegedly broke into vehicles Monday and Tuesday morning at Cottonwood Apartments, Bonnie Doone Apartments, Windscape Apartments and Woodridge Apartments, taking more than $2,000 in items, the release said.

Athens officer Shelby Castro caught the trio when he responded to a call about suspicious people in the parking lot at Woodridge Apartments. Castro allegedly found Gabhart and the teens in a Jeep parked next to a trash bin.

Investigator Dustin Lansford and officers found four vehicles that someone had broken into, took the trio into custody and questioned them. Police said the three admitted to the Athens break-ins, where they allegedly took 35 compact discs, nine car stereos and two radio faceplates.

Sheriff's Department Chief Investigator Stanley McNatt said his investigators were questioning the trio Tuesday about vehicle break-ins in the Ardmore and Toney areas. McNatt said that in those break-ins, thieves took stereos, CDs, DVDs, clothing, sunglasses and an iPod.

Gabhart was in the county jail, pending a bond hearing. Authorities sent the teens to Tuscumbia's juvenile detention facility.

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