Hundreds of stolen items such as tools and equipment, as well as counterfeit money and narcotics, were discovered during a search of a Columbus residence near Lincoln Park.
Jason D. Warren and Rhonda A. Oliphant, both 44, are facing drug- and theft-related felony charges following the Monday afternoon search by Indiana State Police troopers.
Officers initially went to Warren’s residence at 1921 Keller Ave. in an effort to find a wanted suspect, said Sgt. Stephen Wheeles, spokesman for the Indiana State Police Versailles post.
While at the residence, troopers were able to gather information necessary to obtain a search warrant, he said.
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During the search, which began at 3 p.m. Monday, troopers recovered merchandise worth thousands of dollars determined to have been stolen from retailers including Walmart, Lowe’s, Menards, Rural King and Best Buy and other local businesses, Wheeles said. Personal property that had been reported stolen throughout the Columbus area also was located, he said.
The quantity was so large that troopers stayed at the home for more than 24 hours while evidence was collected and victims were contacted to identify and claim their property, Wheeles said.
In addition, troopers found nearly two ounces of suspected crystal methamphetamine during the search, he said.
Warren and Oliphant, whose home address was listed as 910 7th St., are facing preliminary charges of dealing in methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, possession of a syringe, and possession of stolen property.
Warren was also arrested on charges of counterfeiting and maintaining a common nuisance, while Oliphant also was arrested on a charge of visiting a common nuisance.
Assisting state troopers were officers from the Columbus Police Department and the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department, as well as law enforcement officers from Decatur and Jennings counties, Wheeles said.
The State Police investigation is continuing, and others may also be arrested on charges involving theft and distribution of methamphetamine, Wheeles said.
After being booked into the Bartholomew County Jail shortly after 5:30 p.m. Monday, Warren and Oliphant were placed on a 48-hour hold that was sent to expire late Wednesday afternoon, jail officials said.
While a preliminary bond amount for Warren was set at $200,000 surety or $20,000 cash, no bond amount was immediately established for Oliphant.
The office of Bartholomew County Prosecutor Bill Nash will determine what, if any, criminal charges will be filed against the individuals.
When Warren was arrested at the same address in August 2012 for three drug-related offenses, including dealing in methamphetamine, charges were heightened because the residence is a half-block away from a public park.
On Nov. 27, 2013, then-Bartholomew Circuit Court Judge Stephen Heimann ordered Warren to serve 12 years of a 13.5-year sentence after accepting an agreement that allowed him to plead guilty to one charge, possession of methamphetamine, according to court records.
After Warren completed a therapy program while in prison, he was placed in a community transition program Jan. 12, 2015, and ordered to spend the next five years on probation, court records state.