An empty wallet and an alert homeowner may have led to the arrest of a Corbin man who was working for a local tree-trimming contractor in the Tattersall area.
According to the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department, John Autenrieb, Jr., was arrested and charged with theft by unlawful taking over $300, which is a felony offense, after police conducted an investigation and subsequently served a warrant for his arrest.
According to witness accounts, Autenrieb Jr. allegedly took money from the wallet of an unnamed homeowner on separate occasions that were two weeks apart, while the crew he was working with removed downed tree limbs from the property.
Whitley County Sheriff’s Deputy Ronnie Bowling said he was able to apprehend Autenrieb Jr., Sunday afternoon when he spotted the vehicle he was riding in leaving the parking lot at Immanuel Baptist Church in Corbin at a high rate of speed.
"We received a call about this situation and began investigating it," Bowling said. "Our investigation revealed that money was missing from the homeowner’s wallet and from there, we requested a list of everyone that was on that job site.
"The business owner cooperated with us and we were able to pin point who we thought had taken the money," Bowling added.
"Thanks to statements obtained through the investigation, we were able secure enough information to get a warrant sworn out."
Bowling said from that point, he was able to locate Autenrieb Jr., and make an arrest. After questioning him regarding the thefts, Bowling said the suspect never admitted to taking the money, but tried to admit to other crimes.
"I reminded him that I had read him the Miranda Rights and suggested that he exercise those rights on the way to the jail,"
Bowling said. "He never admitted to taking the money, but told me he had just gotten his car fixed, which cost $365. The thing is he couldn’t tell me, nor could his wife, where that money came from."
Autenrieb Jr., was arrested and lodged in the Whitley County Jail.
Though this arrest was made, Bowling said the amount of complaints of this type of disturbance has decreased since the WCSD warned residents to be mindful of who they allow access to their home. Bowling said with the upcoming spring work season, residents should continue to keep an eye out for scams and if they become suspicious of anyone in the area.