UNION COUNTY —Nine years after a warrant was issued for his arrest a man was finally taken into custody for a crime committed 12 years ago.
The Union County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday morning that Steven Wayne Tarleton, 46, 3098 Irene Bridge Highway, Hickory Grove, had been arrested and charged with Grand Larceny.
Tarleton is charged in connection with the May 2004 theft of a Peterbuilt Road Tractor and a 975 Bobcat from a lot on 1st Street, Ottaray, behind the old Ottary Mill. The incident report filed at the time of the theft states that a deputy was dispatched to the site on May 19, 2004 where he met with the owner of the vehicles who said they were being used to clean up the lot. In addition to the vehicles being stolen, the owner said that a lock had been cut off the gate in order for the thief or thieves to gain entry to the site.
The report states that owner said he believed three former employees, among them Tarleton, had been involved. A witness who’d driven by the site two nights earlier said that he’d seen three men loading the Bobcat into a trailer.
While the theft of the vehicles was discovered in 2004, it wasn’t until February 2007 that a warrant was signed for Tarleton’s arrest. Union County Sheriff David Taylor said Wednesday that the vehicles, which had a combined value of $25,000, were located in North Carolina in 2007. Taylor said that based on information gathered when the vehicles were recovered a warrant was issued for Tarleton’s arrest. He said that since that time Tarleton had been on the run and remained at-large until being arrested Tuesday afternoon.
Taylor said that Tarleton was arrested after someone called the Upstate office of the FBI with information about his whereabouts. He said that the FBI then contacted Deputy Jermaine Smith who is currently on assignment with the Upstate Gang Taskforce and asked if the Sheriff’s Office had a warrant for Tarleton’s arrest. Taylor said that Smith contacted the Sheriff’s Office and confirmed that there was an outstanding warrant on Tarleton. He said that Smith and an FBI agent then went to a construction site in Greenville where Tarleton was employed, placed him under arrest and transported him to the Union County Jail.
Taylor said that Tarleton’s arrest goes to show that no matter how many years pass, a person who breaks the law can still find themselves in jail as law enforcement does not stop looking for them. He said it also shows the importance of trust between the public and law enforcement in fighting crime.
“To be able to make an arrest like this, to solve a case that’s 12 years old is proof we don’t forget about stuff,” Taylor said. “It also shows that people are confident enough in us that they will call us and give us the information we need to make arrests and solve cases.”
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.