An investigation involving multiple law enforcement agencies at the state and local levels led to the arrest of a Helenwood man last week, who is facing felony charges in connection with alleged thefts that occurred at the former Armstrong flooring plant in Oneida.
Gabe M. West, 44, of Helenwood, was arrested by law enforcement officers on Tuesday, October 20, in connection with the thefts, following a nearly month-long investigation.
According to an arrest warrant filed by Officer Rachael Thomas of Oneida Police Department, the investigation began on September 24, when police were summoned to the former Armstrong property following the discovery of a break-in.
The property was recently purchased by the Industrial Development Board of Scott County.
Site managers discovered that thefts had occurred at the property during the night of September 23. The investigation revealed that separate buildings had been broken into: an unsecured building that provided easy access to the thieves, and a building at the Chemical Plant, where a lock had been broken to gain acess.
Investigators were able to find visible tire tracks indicating that a vehicle had pulled into one of the buildings with a trailer attached.
Officers viewed video footage from the Armstrong plant showing what appeared to be a small pickup truck. As the investigation continued, officers obtained video footage from a nearby business that showed a Chevy S10 pickup pulling onto the property the night of the theft. Officers were able to identify Gabe West as the driver of the pickup.
Detective Eric Newport of the Scott County Sheriff’s Office identified tire tread on an S10 pickup at West’s residence as being the same tread as the tracks left at the Armstrong property.
On October 16, a large team of officers — consisting of Thomas, Newport, OPD Investigator Andy Davis, Sheriff’s Office Detective Abby Duncan, and Sheriff’s Office Detective Dennis Chambers, with assistant from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation — served a search warrant on West’s residence in Helenwood.
During the course of the search, officers allegedly discovered wood flooring that had been taken from the Armstrong property, as well as items from a storage building on West’s property that had been identified as taken from the Armstrong plant.
According to the warrant, the thefts had occurred over a period of time, not just one night.
West was charged with theft over $10,000, burglary and vandalism.