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NEWPORT, Ky. - Just hours after an alleged serial trailer thief was arrested in Newport, theft victims started having their vehicles and property returned to them.
One of the first to have his property returned to him was Scott Yerkes of Ross who had the keys to his $56,000 Ford F-250 truck given to him by police Thursday. Yerkes' vehicle was what Newport police say led them to the accused thief, Lloyd Sill.
"I'm ecstatic and I'm glad it's back," Yerkes said.
Yerkes was in the lobby of the Newport Police Department headquarters Thursday afternoon filling out paperwork to get his truck back.
The expensive truck appeared to have little to no exterior damage but Yerkes said some of his property was missing and there were multiple items that did not belong to him.
Sill is being held in the Campbell County Jail in Newport facing both theft and drug charges. Newport police say they found a half gram of heroin in the truck when they arrested Sill, who was driving the vehicle.
Over the past several weeks, a Boy Scout troop in White Oak, a truck in front of a government building in Ross Township and even a trailer filled with Little Debbie snack cakes have been stolen.
Police say when they arrested Sill they found license plates in his possession that detectives say link him to many of the trailer thefts.
"It's pretty obvious to see, at least to law enforcement and to the average person, what was going on," Newport Police Chief Thomas Collins said. "This guy is stealing trailers from all over the Tri-State. This thing goes from all the way down in Southern Kentucky, to Colerain Township, to the inner city and Cincinnati."
Newport Police say they deliberately tried to lure Sills to Newport because they suspected he might be involved in the theft of a drag racing trailer from a Northern Kentucky family. They say detectives found the connection to Sills through postings on eBay and on Craigslist.
Sills was found with several license plates from stolen trailers and vehicles, a half gram of heroin, over $4,000 in cash and a variety of vehicle keys.
Chief Collins was very happy that one arrest was leading to clues into a number of other vehicle and trailer thefts around the Tri-State.
"We were able to gain information from the internet, off of lists, that lead Mr. Sill to Newport last night," Chief Collins said. "We ran the plate on the truck and the truck came back to a 2002 Ford, but this was obviously a truck from 2011. He had the keys to the truck and it was a stolen license plate."
Chief Collins says the investigation continues as search warrants are obtained for cellphones to see if they can help provide more information regarding the missing trailers and other property.
According to Newport police, while Sill has not been willing cooperate with them, several people who were also found in the stolen truck have talked with investigators.
"Now you are coming up on Christmas time," Chief Collins said. "You think you are buying a trailer for somebody and you think it's a straight up deal and here it is someone's stolen property. Most of the time, people don't carry insurance on these things."
"I'm glad they caught him," Yerkes said. "It's unfortunate my truck was part of the stuff, but you know, hopefully, they'll take care of everything and everybody will get their stuff back."
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