Report of suspicious car leads police to $100,000 in stolen property

A report of a suspicious vehicle led Columbus, Indiana, Police Department to $100,000 worth of goods that likely were stolen, authorities said Jan. 26, 2018. (Photo Provided/Columbus Police Department)

COLUMBUS, Ind. (WISH) — Columbus police said they recovered around $100,000 worth of stolen property and believe the two people arrested may be connected to other cases across central Indiana.

Police served three search warrants and said officers have never recovered this many stolen items before in one case. They were still working Friday to sort through everything before contacting any potential victims.

The investigation began in a Columbus neighborhood near Riverside Drive and Highland Way. Hali Wever and her husband woke up in the middle of the night in their home to find a suspicious car earlier this month.

“We walked downstairs and we saw a car sitting, and its running lights were on on the inside of our private gates, so we thought, ‘Well, that’s really weird. Maybe they’re going to leave soon.’ So, they didn’t, and we called the cops,” she said.

Inside the Ford Explorer police found 34-year-old Norma Holley and 35-year-old Brian Stewart, who tried running from police.

“The vehicle was in reverse, I guess, and he hit that gas superquick but slammed on the brakes and I saw him put his hands up, and the cops ripped him out of the car, like, ‘Yeah, shouldn’t have done that,'” Wever said.

Police searched the car and found 70 syringes, meth and a bunch of stolen items. They traced those items back to thefts and burglaries to at least seven different Indiana communities.

“Our groundskeeper was looking out in the yard and found like a bunch of jewelry boxes out in the yard and, like, nice crystal candle holders,” she said.

The investigation didn’t end there. Police checked a storage facility on Indianapolis Road and U.S. 31 in Columbus where they found even more stuff.

Pictures provided by police show a tub full of watches, jewelry, lawn equipment, tools, clothes, luggage and boxes of paperwork including Social Security cards and passports.

One of the victims shared a surveillance video with 24-Hour News 8. In the video you can see the suspect grabbing the luggage from the family’s front porch. Police said they recovered that luggage at a garage on Lafayette Avenue, according to court documents.

Holley and Stewart are facing several charges, including possession of drugs, theft and trespassing. Police said some of these thefts and burglaries were first reported in 2016 and 2017.