Danville couple, Burnside man arrested for using cold checks to purchase chainsaws

Published 10:46 am Friday, January 12, 2018

Group suspected of selling items online and in pawn stores, believed to hit over 23 communities  

A Danville man has been arrested and charged with 10 counts of theft by deception after police believe he used cold checks to purchase chainsaws in more than 23 Kentucky communities. He and two others are suspected in selling the stolen goods online and in pawn shops. 

Courtesy of the Boyle County Detention Center
Lucy Williams

Ryan Williams, 41, was arrested Tuesday by the Boyle County Sheriff’s Office. His wife, Lucy Williams, 34, was also arrested and has been charged with engaging in organized crime.

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Another man believed to have been involved in a number of the thefts, Tony Thurman, 44 of Burnside, is currently in the Leslie County Detention Center serving time on another warrant. He was arrested on Jan. 4.

“They’re maliciously going out and victimizing businesses,” said Robbins.

The trio hit businesses around the state, taking, he speculates, “tens of thousands of dollars” worth of chainsaws, by using cold checks to purchase the equipment. Authorities say they sold the items online, via Facebook and Craigslist, as well as in pawn shops.

So far, 35 chainsaws have been recovered.

Courtesy of the Leslie County Detention Center
Tony Thurman

The thefts came to light through an investigation in Cumberland County. A business was burglarized there on Jan. 2.

“It was a smash and grab,” said Cumberland Sheriff Scott Daniels, totaling about $9,000. Two men were involved.

Daniels said they began investigating and noticed that two men, Williams and Thurman, were in the store the same day, a few days before the burglary.

Another store, in Byrdstown, Tennessee, which sits about 30 minutes away, was also hit the same night, by two men. Williams and Thurman had also visited the store a few days prior with cold checks; Norma Thurman is the name on the checks used by Tony Thurman.

Daniels found 15 stores in the area, including a few in Tennessee, that had been given cold checks by the men and the two that were burglarized were the only two that didn’t have their chainsaws locked down.

“We don’t know if it’s them … It may be a coincidence that they were in the stores,” Daniels said.

In any case, that led him to contact the Boyle County Sheriff’s Office. Together, they set up a sting operation to buy a chainsaw from Williams, Robbins said.

Boyle County deputies have also been making the calls, learning that the men purchased chainsaws from several stores in Harrodsburg, Danville and Stanford using cold checks.

Daniels said they don’t know how long this has been going on — at least since June.

Robbins explained that cold checks don’t typically go to the sheriff’s office or other law enforcement offices — they’re turned into the county attorney’s office. That’s likely why the dots were never connected in these cases.

More charges are anticipated for all of those involved. There may also be others involved, Robbins said.

Any businesses who have been a victim of a cold check from one of the three is asked to contact their local county attorney’s office.

At this time, no one has been charged for the burglaries. Daniels said his office has located more burglary victims, too. Some businesses were not even aware they had been taken from, he said.

Anyone with information in the cases can contact the Boyle County Sheriff’s Office at (859) 238-1123. Det. Donnie Moses is the lead investigator in Boyle County.