WAFF 48 catches thieves red handed - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL


WAFF 48 catches thieves red handed

By Elizabeth Gentle
WAFF 48 News Reporter



A Valley woman called us desperate to find out who broke into her business and stole more than $300,000 worth of equipment.

We had no idea we'd catch the suspected thieves red-handed.

Charles Henry Sullivan, Kirk Douglas Moss, and John Anthony Brewton are all charged with several counts of burglary and theft.

WAFF 48 News Reporter Elizabeth Gentle files this report.

After our interview with Mary Gooch, we drove away and saw a van pulled around back of her closed business.

You can imagine the suspected thieves' shock when we pinned them in, called police, and caught the take down on tape.

A story you'll see only on tonight's investigators report.

Mary Gooch is the former owner of Sister Gooch Restaurant on Slaughter Road.

She called the WAFF 48 Investigators when she discovered nearly half a million dollars worth of equipment had been stolen.

Thieves broke a door lock, busted out the glass, and stole everything from furniture, ovens, silverware and dishes to stainless steel appliances and tables, and that's not all.

"They dug up the plants the huge gardenia bushes took all my flowers," says Gooch.

Gooch noticed pieces of equipment, stored inside the business, missing.

Then Wednesday, thieves came back for the rest.

"It's unbelievable the equipment they have taken out and we haven't been able to catch them."

Gooch's luck was about to change. After the interview, we spotted a van backed up to the door. 3 men were inside and we asked why they were there.

"That door was open the guy said they were going to sell tables and chairs," says the suspected thief.

We called 911. And while we waited for police, watch the guy in red walk off. He was caught just a few minutes later running away from the scene. A second suspect was taken down in the driveway . The driver made no attempt to leave. He was arrested on the spot.

"What you running for if you didn't do anything?"

"I didn't run."

"You took off running and I asked you were you were going."

"I didn't run. I walked off."

"Why did you do that if you are innocent."

Brewton is led away in handcuffs. Moss and Sullivan cuffed and on the ground.

"As we arrived the victim and channel 48 personnel blocked them into the driveway around the back of the restaurant. As the officers pulled up one of the 48 reporters was actually chasing one of the offenders across the lot. Investigator Smith ran him down," said Investigator Jerry Trew.

Investigators say the trio confessed to stealing more than $300,000 worth of restaurant equipment, furniture, copper wiring and coolers.

Huntsville Police investigators say Sullivan, Moss and Brewton had been stealing from the closed restaurant for months and selling the equipment to a store on Oakwood Avenue.

They found the Gooch's stolen merchandise at Campbell's Store Equipment on Oakwood Avenue.

The owner of Campbell's will not be charged because he assisted in the recovery of the stolen property.

It took inmate labor to load the stolen ovens, wire racks, sinks, and refrigerators in the back of trucks.

Doug Gooch says he can't believe the thieves were caught red-handed, by his mother and our news crew.

He's thankful the case is closed.

"The good news is we got our equipment back the bad news is the place is torn up and we have to clean up the damage and put the equipment back in the building," says Doug Gooch.

The suspects left behind evidence; fopt prints on the kitchen floor, a bullet, and cigarette butts.

Brewton, Moss, and Sullivan are charged with several felony counts of burglary and theft. And more charges could be added.

Investigators say all 3 confessed to stealing from the Gooch's restaurant.

Investigator Trew says the suspects have prior criminal charges.

One of the burglars has spent time in prison on a manslaughter charge dating back to 1980. A second suspect's background shows dozens of burglary and theft charges.

This case should add to their time behind bars.

"Several of them are already on probation for crimes. There is a chance their probation will be revoked. We've got 7-8 felonies they will be charged with," says Trew.

All 3 are in the Madison County Metro Jail tonight on high bonds. 

To get in touch with Elizabeth, email her at egentle@waff.com.

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