Tahlequah Daily Press

March 13, 2014

Okay men snared in multicounty theft ring

Staff Writer

OKLAHOMA CITY — Allegations against two Okay men continue to multiply as authorities in at least five counties investigate a burglary ring targeting churches, schools and homes.

Early Tuesday morning, deputies in Sequoyah County arrested 21-year-olds Dylan L. Compton and Robert R. Ford and booked them on theft and larceny complaints. Deputies said the duo took several air conditioning units from a Marble City school, and musical equipment from the Cherokee Children’s Mission in Adair County Monday night and Tuesday morning.

But investigators believe that is just a small portion of a much larger operation.

“It looks like we’re investigating a multicounty burglary ring,” Cherokee County Undersheriff Jason Chennault said on Wednesday. “It’s a case we’ve been working with other offices. Investigators in other counties have helped us clear up some of our cases, and we’ve helped them clear up some of their cases.”

Cherokee County sheriff’s investigators interviewed the two suspects Wednesday, and both allegedly confessed to stealing property in Cherokee, Adair, Sequoyah, Muskogee and McIntosh counties over a period of months.

Because of the allegations, both men are jailed in Sequoyah County without bond.

According to Cherokee County investigators, confessions from Compton and Ford have so far solved anywhere from 15 to 20 burglaries, and new information continues to roll in.

Compton and Ford allegedly stole air conditioning units from a number of Cherokee County churches and schools, many of them in the Hulbert, Lost City and Peggs areas.

They’ve also taken property from local homes, and investigators believe the two have stolen anywhere from five to 20 trailers.

Investigators said 60 to 70 percent of the music equipment recently stolen from two Cherokee County churches was recovered during the followup.

“This is an ongoing investigation, and we appreciate the cooperation of other agencies as we continue working this case,” said Chennault. “We hope we’re able to continue closing cases as a result of these arrests.”

Compton and Ford have both been cooperating with the investigation, authorities said.