Lee County Sheriff Rachals arrests burglary suspect

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

LEESBURG -- Following tips from residents, Lee County Sheriff Reggie Rachals looked in his patrol car's side mirror and spotted the brown Chevrolet pickup he was looking for.

At about 10:30 a.m. Monday Rachals said he stopped Dustin Wellington, 23, on Jefferson Street on suspicion of burglary as he headed into Albany.

"I saw him going south on Lovers Lane Road, it looked like him in my side view," Rachals said. "I looked again, it was him. I pulled him over and confronted him."

That confrontation resulted in Wellington's arrest on burglary charges and his incarceration in Lee County jail in lieu of $75,000 bail, a jail spokeswoman said.

Sheriff's deputies had been looking for a man who had been burglarizing homes in Lee County for the past two months. Wellington is suspected of stealing about $30,000 worth of guns, televisions, jewelry, tools and lawn maintenance equipment, Rachals said.

"He broke into 10 or 12 homes at least," Rachals said. "We have recovered a lot from pawn shops and he has cooperated with us and told us where he sold some."

Deputies have begun matching the found stolen property to lists of stolen items supplied by victims. Items have been returned to rightful owners on Friday, Rachals said.

More burglary victims living in the general area between the Kinchafoonee and Muckalee creeks where the burglaries occurred could be reunited with their property next week as more people are called, Rachals said.

"We received a lot of good information from people who had seen this truck in their neighborhoods," Rachals said. "He had just left a house with stolen goods when I stopped him."