By John L. Ross / Staff Writer
Four suspects were the target — and a Corbin jewelry store served as the first bullseye.
Thursday morning, the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department, along with members of the Corbin Police Department, converged at 206 South Main Street in Corbin, warrants in hand for the owner of Design House jewelry and another involved with the store.
According to Whitley County Sheriff Colan Harrell, the two suspects faced charges after buying nine guns stolen during a Jan. 13 burglary of an Alsip Trail residence.
The leader in that investigation, Lt. Millard Root, recovered all the stolen weapons.
On Thursday while inside the business, deputies walked through the store, looking at various guns and display cases. One deputy even disarmed another unknown man, apparently working in the store, who was carrying a handgun in the back of his pants.
Deputies then arrested James Woodrow King, 51, and led him from the store.
“He is accused of receiving — of knowingly receiving — stolen property,” Harrell said after King’s arrest. Harrell said King allegedly intended to sell the stolen weapons through the jewelry store with a second man.
He added the value of the stolen guns was $3,650.
“He paid about $300 for them,” Harrell said.
As King was being led from the store, he was adamant about his innocence.
“There needs to be a better system involved in dealing with firearms,” King said. “That way mistakes like this don’t happen.”
King sang a different tune, however, while deputies combed the jewelry store, according to Harrell. Harrell explained that while his warrant was being read to him, King said “I knew the guns were hot and I knew better.”
Once King was secured, deputies’ aimed for the next target — a McKeehan Crossing Road residence south of Corbin. There, deputies arrested 35-year-old Donald Matthew Leone, the store’s jewelry designer.
Both men remain jailed at the Whitley County Detention Center and face charges of receiving stolen property less than $10,000. Harrell said their bonds should be $2,500 each.
The sheriff’s department also targeted the accused burglars in the January robbery. In South Corbin, Corbin Police caught up with and arrested two suspects, whom Harrell alleges had stolen the guns.
Jerry Wayne Hart, 34, and Nancy Lemons, 40, both of Corbin, now face first-degree burglary charges in connection with the Alsip Trail break-in. They also remain jailed in the Whitley County Detention Center. No bond or court date had been set as of press time.
Harrell said the burglary was a standard break-in.
“They kick the door down, take the weapons, then get out and leave,” he said.
The investigation continues and Harrell said more arrests may come. Assisting in the store owners’ arrests were Corbin Police Chief David Campbell, Sgt. Rusty Hedrick, Maj. Rob Jones and Sgt. William Rose.