Captured at gunpoint by the property owner he was trying to rip off, a local man faces a long list of charges for a theft spree that ended suddenly when he was reportedly caught in the act.
The suspect, Thomas Allen Willett, 47, is charged with theft, grand theft, auto burglary, burglary, aggravated criminal trespass, and theft over $60,000. He will face hearing Dec. 12.
Willett was nabbed in a barn off Old Rock Island Road where lawmen were called after he was captured at gunpoint by the property owner. Upon arriving at the scene, officers found a stolen Jeep which had been filled with items Willett reportedly had planned to steal from the victim’s property. There was also a black truck found on the property lawmen believe was going to be used for nefarious purposes.
“There was a black Ford truck that was attached to a horse trailer which I believe he was going to drive from the scene due to the keys being in the truck,” said McMinnville police detective Stuart Whitman. He noted Willett was busy taking tools from another truck and loading them into the stolen Jeep when he was surprised by the property owner.
Further adding to Willett’s trouble, the owner of the stolen Jeep came to the scene and told police that some of the tools found inside the Jeep belonged to him.
Willett told officers he rode to the scene as a passenger in the stolen Jeep with another man and had no idea the vehicle was stolen. However, Whitman doubts that story as he has found no evidence of another person being at the scene.
Willett could face three to six years in prison on the main grand theft charge alone.