Man charged in widespread outbreak of auto burglaries

POSTED: 5:56 PM Jan 09 2013   UPDATED: 5:34 PM Jan 09 2013

An Elizabethton man faces multiple charges and is believed to be involved in a major rash of theft.

Officers told us several counts of auto burglary charges have been filed and are pending against 45-year-old Kirk A. Trent in five different jurisdictions.

We learned there have been at least three dozen reports of auto burglaries just in the past month, and officers believed them to be connected to this suspect.

200 stolen items sit unclaimed at the Washington County, Tennessee Sheriff's Department. Investigators told us it's a massive loot collected by Trent in a major auto burglary rash, and it’s worth thousands of dollars.

"We've had at least 25 auto burglaries," said Captain Shawn Judy with the Washington County, Tennessee Sheriff's Department. "He's went as far as property we found in his house was stolen from inside a residence."

Investigators told us Trent took just about anything he could find, including small things like sets of keys just laying inside of cars, clothing, GPS units, phone chargers, and more. "Anything you can get real quick [like] iPods, telephones," Judy added.

Investigators said this rash of theft has swept through the Tri-Cities.

We're told officers from Kingsport, Johnson City, Sullivan County, and Jonesborough have identified some of the confiscated items to be reported stolen in auto burglaries. "We had about ten auto burglaries. Ten different locations on the 16th of December," said Major Matt Rice with the Jonesborough Police Department.

One of the hard hit areas was the east side of Jonesborough. Residents told us it's shaken up the quiet community. "It gives you an uneasy feeling like you've been violated or something like that. It doesn't make you feel good," said Bob Dunn, a Jonesborough resident.

Now these neighbors are thinking twice about just how much you can trust anyone. "Everybody I think is kind of been enlightened as to make sure their stuff is locked up and that everything's secure," Dunn added.

Washington County investigators told us Trent was arrested on December 27. Officers also said he is a convicted felon.

Some items still need to be identified and returned. If you have anything you believed may have been stolen in this rash of burglaries, particularly a camera, phone, or iPod with pictures on it, there are some photos that can be identified on the Washington County, Tennessee Sheriff Department's website, available here.