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Acting on a tip received from deer hunters,  Conservation Officers with the Indiana Department of Transportation teamed with Crawford County Sheriff’s Deputies and other law enforcement agencies this week in a large-scale investigation that netted four arrests on theft and drug charges.

While checking deer hunters on November 14th, an Indiana Conservation Officer received a tip concerning multiple burglaries that had occurred in and around Crawford County.

IDNR PhotoThat tip ultimately led authorities to the home of 46-year old Joseph Dearborn of Taswell, where officers says they found stolen items including a tractor, three ATVs, and a generator. They also say methamphetamine and paraphernalia were recovered from the home.

Following the search, police say Dearborn along with 59-year old Ricky Gray, 52-year old Scott Froman, and 35-year old TJ Thomas Lester, all of Eckerty, were arrested and face multiple charges, including burglary, theft, and drug possession.

Police say that multiple search warrants followed the arrests and Indiana Conservation Officers, Crawford County Sheriff’s Deputies and troopers with the Indiana State Police located additional stolen items and vehicles, as well as methamphetamine and paraphernalia at the other suspects’ residences.

To date, police say 21 burglaries and/or thefts dating back to April of this year have been connected with these suspects.

Recovered items include three ATVs, two motor vehicles (one of which was stolen from Georgia), two tractors, multiple stolen power tools, road signs, fishing equipment and other personal items, some of which authorities say have been returned to their rightful owners.

Assisting agencies included the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Indiana State Police, and English Town Marshalls.

Police say the case remains under investigation and additional arrests and stolen item recoveries are expected.

Anyone with information concerning this investigation is encouraged to contact Indiana Conservation Officers’ Central Dispatch at 812-837-9536, or the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department at 812-338-3616.

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