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Man accused of stealing outdoor tools, equipment

A Brookhaven man has been charged in a series of lawn and gardenequipment burglaries, officials said.

Bruce C. McCoy, 51, of 1879 Nola Rd., was arrested Saturday andcharged with two counts of grand larceny, single counts of burglaryand burglary of a residence and “many’ counts of petty larceny fora string of thefts involving outdoor lawn equipment.

“That’s what the investigation has revealed so far,” saidLincoln County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Lance Falvey. “Therecould be additional charges forthcoming.”

McCoy was scheduled to visit a judge to consider bond Tuesdaymorning.

The charges stem from burglaries conducted since Feb. 10, 2004,but “we suspect he may have been involved as far back as January2003,” Falvey said.

The thefts targeted items such as chain saws and lawn mowers tosupplement what may have been a legitimate business, he said.

“Some of it is legit. Some we feel is not,” Falvey said. “Wehave recovered a lot of property, but we feel there is still a lotout there.”

Sheriff Wiley Calcote is requesting that anyone who purchaseditems from McCoy in the last year contact the sheriff’s office sothey can determine if the item was a legitimate sale or the sale ofstolen property.

“There is a good possibility it was stolen,” he said.

“There would be no charges against the buyer because it waspurchased in good faith,” Falvey added.

The property, however, would revert to the original owner shouldit be determined as stolen.

“There is a procedure for compensation and restitution forbuyers who would lose their purchases because that item wasstolen,” Falvey said. “They are actually victims also.”

Most of the thefts were made primarily in the eastern half ofthe county, Calcote said, and the sheriff’s office believes theremay be more thefts that went unreported.

“There are probably people out there who have had things stolenbut have not reported it. They should,” the sheriff said.

He added, however, that other thefts in the area do notnecessarily mean McCoy was the alleged thief.

Investigators have not concluded whether McCoy was working aloneor with others.

“That has yet to be determined,” Falvey said. “It’s still underinvestigation.”