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Salyersville Independent

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County road department employee charged with theft of road signs, barrels

SALYERSVILLE – A investigation into many missing county road signs, which has cost the county hundreds of dollars to replace, finally came to a head last week, with a now-former Magoffin County Road Department arrested and two more charged.

According to the warrant, Magoffin County Sheriff Bill Meade was contacted by Magoffin County Judge/Executive Matthew Wireman concerning the theft of multiple county road signs and, during the course of the investigation, he was able to identify suspects related to the thefts.

When Sheriff Meade arrived at one of the residences to speak with a suspect, he was able to identify a stolen stop sign that was in plain view as soon as the door was opened. According to the warrant, the stop sign has several signatures on it, written in marker, on of which belonged to Jimmy Rowe, 25, of Fairchild Road, in Salyersville.

Meade spoke with the people at the residence where the stolen stop sign was located and they told him where there were other stolen road signs and other traffic devises, according to the warrant.

Meade recovered the stop sign, 14 county road signs and seven orange traffic barrels, as well as took statements and confessions from other people involved in the theft that reportedly implicated Rowe in the thefts. He also received a video that shows Rowe standing in front of a church on Cow Creek with two other individuals, with some of them holding the county road sign and stop sign for that roadway just after they were taken down.

Rowe was arrested and charged with theft by unlawful taking, $500 < $1,000 (misdemeanor); third-degree criminal mischief (misdemeanor); and altering/defacing/damaging traffic control devise (violation). He was taken to the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center on July 27, where he was released later that same day, pending future court dates, but no hearing is scheduled at this time.

Two others were also charged, including Alexis M. Arnett, whose residence the signs were recovered from, and James G. Collet, who was also at the residence, though they both complied law enforcement, receiving a court summons for the same charges. They are scheduled to be arraigned in the case on August 21.

Rowe had been a part-time employee of the county road department, though he is no longer employed by the county as of the day of his arrest.

Editor’s Note: The indictment or charge of a person by a grand jury or otherwise is an accusation only and that person is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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