One sibling steals from the other, pawns items for cash
Brotherly love didn't extend to a north Webster set of siblings as one brother finds himself in jail for stealing tools from the other and pawning them for cash.
Richard W. Vines, 30, of the 300 block of Frazier Road in Sarepta has been arrested on a charge of felony theft after Webster Parish investigators discovered he had been pawning items stolen from his brother's business where he was an employee.
Det. Sgt. T.D. Kemp said he was originally asked to investigate possible theft of checks on the equipment company owned by Vines' brother.
"We took a report from Vines' brother when he discovered somebody had written three checks on his company account," Kemp said. "He (the victim) was also missing some assorted tools. He said he thought the checks had been stolen, forged and cashed by a couple living in a travel trailer on his property."
Following a hunch and some evidence, Kemp said the sheriff's office followed the stolen-tools thread.
"We had been watching (Richard Vines) in the pawn shop detail for a long time," Kemp said. "He'd been a suspect in some other things. Just out of a routine check, we looked to see what he was pawning and compared it to what was missing."
Investigators were reportedly able to locate and photograph some of the items in pawn shops in Minden, Shreveport and Bossier City. Descriptions of missing items matched those pawned by Vines.
Without letting the victim know who had pawned the items, Kemp said he invited him to the sheriff's office to view the pictures.
"The victim identified the items in the photographs as those he was missing from his business," Kemp said. "The victim said he felt like the same people who stole and forged the checks were the same ones that stole the tools. Then I showed him the photo of his brother, and told him, 'here's the one that's really taking your stuff.'
"I knew that if I told him up front that it was his brother, he probably wasn't going to fess up to the stuff being his," Kemp continued. "But I showed him all the stuff and had him identify it before I told him who it was that pawned it."
At that point, Kemp said, the victim was forced to face the fact that it was his brother who was stealing his tools.
The detective said that since January 2010, Vines has pawned 43 items, and the victim identified 39 of those items as belonging to him.
"Even if Richard tried to tell you how many times he took his brother's property – without his brother's consent – to the pawn shop and pawned it, he wouldn't be able to tell you how many times he stole," Kemp said. "But I got the victim to value the amount of the property he was missing, and he put a value on it of about $25,000."
Deputies acquired a warrant for Vines' arrest, but the detective said he evaded capture for several days.
Deputies John Byrd, Kyle Greer and Joe Morgan arrested Vines at an address in the 600 block of Frazier Road.
Kemp said that since the stolen checks were cashed at a Springhill bank, north Webster authorities are pursuing it as a forgery case. He turned over all his information to a detective there, and that portion of the case is still under investigation.