A Baldwin County man is being sought by authorities in three counties in connection with a burglary of a home in Morgan County earlier this week. It netted him and another man a variety of long guns, handguns, and crossbows and arrows, authorities say.
The weapons, many of which were recovered from a camper in Baldwin County, had an estimated value of $15,000, according to Morgan County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Sgt. Joseph Pritchett.
Of the 30 weapons stolen, all but about six were recovered, according to Putnam County Sheriff’s Office Detective Lt. Harry Luke.
The local man sought in connection with the break-in of the house was identified as Anthony Rackley, 19, of Marion Street, Milledgeville, Prichett told The Union-Recorder in a telephone interview Thursday.
The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office in Madison has issued a warrant for his arrest on a charge of burglary in the first degree.
A second suspect in the burglary was identified as Brandin Cole Mullis, 18, of the 400 block of Lower Harmony Road, Eatonton, Prichett said.
Mullis was taken into custody Tuesday by the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office and charged with one count of burglary in the first degree. Mullis is being held in the Morgan County Law Enforcement Center in Madison.
Authorities arrested two other men because they were found shooting a couple of the stolen guns. The pair was not charged in connection with the burglary, however.
Luke identified those two suspects Preston Scott McElhannon, 17, of the 400 block of Lower Harmony Road, Eatonton; and Caleb Peter Green, 20, also of the 400 block of Lower Harmony Road, Eatonton.
They were taken to the Putnam County Jail in Eatonton after their arrest.
Luke said the case started after someone called the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office asking for a deputy to check out three men shooting guns near a public roadway.
“These guys were shooting off the front porch of a residence early Monday,” Luke said. “And the next day, we tied two and two together with the guns they used and learned they had been stolen in a burglary that had occurred in Morgan County.”
Initially, Putnam County authorities didn’t have serial numbers from the guns to match up to the stolen guns. But they had a description of what they looked like, Luke said.
Deputy Sgt. Justin Brock subsequently went to the residence where he made three arrests.
The next day, Luke said he talked with Investigator Pritchett and Investigator Young about the case and discovered additional information, including the name of one of the men who worked for a contractor doing renovations on the home that was burglarized.
The case quickly went a different direction when authorities learned that one of the men arrested for shooting a gun worked for one of the contractors doing the work at the home in Morgan County.
“We went and talked with him on the job and he admitted that he and another man had gone there and done the burglary,” Luke said.
The house that was burglarized was located on the 500 block of the Eatonton Road in Morgan County.
The variety of long guns, several of which had telescopic sites, handguns and compound crossbows had been stored in a gun safe in the home being renovated, Pritchett said.
“The gun safe was not open, but it was not secured, either, meaning it wasn’t locked,” Pritchett said.
The investigator said there also was a secondary gun cabinet with a glass front.
“They were able to see inside that cabinet, and it ended up that one of the workers doing some of the renovation work went home last Friday and had a conversation with another one of his buddies, and they decided they were going back over there,” Pritchett said.
He identified the two suspects as Mullis and Rackley.
On Monday, Pritchett said he and MCSO Investigator Sgt. Chase Young, PCSO Lt. Harry Luke, along with deputies from their agencies, as well as the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office, recovered 18 of the stolen firearms from a camper in Baldwin County.
“Rackley was not there that night,” Pritchett said.
Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office Detective Capt. Brad King said local deputies assisted Morgan and Putnam County in going to the residence, located on the 600 block of Ga. Highway 49.
“We didn't have anything to do with this investigation, though,” King said. “We just had some of our deputies go with representatives from those two agencies to recover some stolen guns.”
Asked what the suspects had planned to do with the weapons, Pritchett said his best guess would be that they intended on selling them.
“We’re glad we’ve found as many guns as we have in this case, and we’re hoping we’re going to be able to recover the other ones,” Pritchett said.
Luke said he was just glad that all of the stolen weapons did not make it onto the streets.
“That could have sure enough been a big mess with a lot more crimes being committed around these parts,” Luke said.
Anyone with information on Rackley’s whereabouts is asked to call the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 478-445-5102.