At least one man police say is responsible for a rash of auto thefts and burglaries over the last week is now in custody.
Knox County Sheriff Doug Vantlin said police on Friday afternoon arrested 36-year-old Josh Shaner, Bicknell, in Oaktown on charges of auto theft, possession of stolen property and possession of meth.
Police say he could be responsible for as many as a dozen auto thefts that happened in northern Knox County over the last week as well as other home burglaries.
Shaner was arrested following a request posted to social media Friday for help in locating him; police were able to identify him in some surveillance footage captured at one of the scenes.
He was actually out on bond on a separate charge of theft; he’d been out of jail, Vantlin said, since Sept. 6.
But he likely isn’t the only one responsible for the auto thefts and burglaries, however.
“He isn’t the only one we’re looking for,” Vantlin said. “We’re actually looking at three people.
“But he’s the one we had the most evidence on, and he’s the one we now have in custody.”
Vantlin said he isn’t sure whether or not the three suspects were working together, but they were at least working all at the same time.
Officials in Sullivan County, too, are investigating multiple thefts there as well as two other potential suspects.
“We’re not saying we think they were running in a five-person ring,” Vantlin said, “but from what we’ve gathered so far, they at least know one another.”
Police have also been able to recover some of the stolen property; of the dozen or so vehicles that have been stolen in the last week, at least four have been located, Vantlin said.
Police first began issuing warnings to local residents about the thefts on Wednesday night.
The first report of a theft came on Saturday, Vantlin said, and in the days since, they’ve received multiple reports of burglarized homes and cars, as well stolen vehicles.
The string of thefts and burglaries occurred at all hours of day and night, and primarily were concentrated to the north side of Vincennes, Bruceville and Bicknell.
Crimes, too, were reported in Oaktmwn and neighboring Sullivan County.
The home burglaries have primarily been happening during daylight hours while the owners are at work, while car break-ins and thefts are occurring late at night.
With suspects still at large, Vantlin continues to urge residents to be vigilant and to look out for one another.
“It’s a good time to get to with your neighbors. Keep an eye out for one another, and call us if you see any suspicious activity,” he said earlier this week.
Vantlin also suggests that residents remove all valuable items from their vehicles, remove the keys from the ignition and lock the doors. In addition, all valuable items inside the household should be secured while homeowners are away.
Residents who have security cameras on their property are also encouraged to routinely view the footage.
Residents with any other information in reference to the thefts are encouraged to contact the sheriff’s department at 812-882-7660.
To report a crime or suspicious activity as it is unfolding, call 911 or Central Dispatch at 812-882-1502.