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ECSO: Pair reports theft but is guilty party

POSTED: April 18, 2013 6:30 p.m.

James Owens

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Two would-be thieves who apparently hadn’t thought out their plan very well were arrested Tuesday morning after trying to steal an all-terrain vehicle.

Effingham County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the 2000 block of Ebenezer Road, where a truck and an ATV were stuck in a ditch. James Owens, 24, and Nicole Wagner, 27, both of Rincon, told deputies their truck got stuck while they were trying to help after seeing someone attempting to steal the ATV from a nearby house.

“They said they saw someone trying to steal the ATV and they were going to return it to the homeowner,” said Effingham County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Detective David Ehsanipoor. “They gave some sort of a description (of an alleged suspect), but the deputies quickly realized it was bogus.”

Based on physical evidence at the scene and cell phone communications between Owens and Wagner, deputies determined the pair had been on the property where the theft occurred and were the ones who had taken the ATV.

“They had been texting back and forth about their plans to steal the ATV,” Ehsanipoor said.

“Their plan was very poorly executed,” Ehsanipoor continued. “They didn’t get very far. Their story was just ridiculous.”

Deputies arrested Wagner and Owens at the scene and they are being held in the Effingham County jail. Both were charged with theft by taking, conspiracy and unlawful use of a communication device.

Owens resisted arrest, Ehsanipoor said, but deputies were able to subdue him and place him in the back of a sheriff’s office patrol car. Owens then kicked out one of the car’s windows and continued to be combative, which brought him additional charges of obstruction of a law enforcement officer and interference with government property.

Owens and Wagner are both convicted felons with extensive criminal histories, according to the ECSO. Their prior arrests have been mostly on burglary charges, Ehsanipoor said, and Wagner also has been arrested for armed robbery.


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