Thieves in 6-county theft ring caught in Conover

The final free suspects in a six-person theft ring were captured in Conover last week. The duo are suspected to be part of a team of thieves that collected more than $20,000 in property during at least 40 break-ins throughout six counties.

John Willard Blackwelder and Trisha Marie Nelson were arrested in the parking lot of Conover’s Wal-Mart on July 24 as part of a joint operation between Iredell County Sheriff’s Department, N.C. Highway Patrol and Conover Police. Officers found the pair armed and in a vehicle stolen from a Huntersville man. Inside the car, police found several guns reported stolen during a Monroe break-in, as well as property connected to burglaries in the Mooresville area.

The two were the last of six suspected thieves sought by Iredell County Sheriff’s Office in connection with a rash of burglaries in Catawba, Iredell, McDowell, Wilkes, Rowan and Surry counties during the past two months.

To read more of this story, pick up the Thursday print edition of Catawba County's community newspaper, The Observer News Enterprise, at newsstands throughout the county.