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Two charged in tractor trailer theft

Two men face charges after Butts County authorities and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation recovered a tractor trailer reported stolen out of Macon with a load of designer jeans.

The tractor trailer was reportedly stolen from a used tire shop’s lot Sunday afternoon, Butts County investigators said Tuesday. Using the GPS tracking systems on the truck and trailer, authorities tracked the semi to the Flying J truckstop off Ga. Highway 36, and the trailer to a lot behind the Wings & Brews restaurant off Ga. 16, Butts County Sheriff’s Lt. Adam Marlowe said.

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Kenneth J. Green

After locating the truck and trailer, local authorities in cooperation with the GBI’s cargo theft task force set up surveillance on the trailer, Butts County Sheriff’s Sgt. Sean Wallace said.

Wallace said that Monday evening, a gold Dodge pickup was spotted in the area a short time before a semi appeared, hooked to the trailer and began hauling it away. Wallace said that around 7:30 p.m. Monday, the semi driver pulled out onto Ga. 16 eastbound.

He said the semi driver, who was identified as Kenneth James Green, 43, of Decatur, was being closed in on by law enforcement from both directions when he stopped the tractor trailer, jumped out and ran into the woods.

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Gene D. Wesley

“Several minutes later he was apprehended in the woods,” Marlowe said.

GBI agents continued following the pickup on Ga. 16, Wallace said, and the driver was stopped near the livestock auction just outside the Jackson city limits. The pickup driver, identified as Gene David Wesley, 47, of Ellenwood, was arrested without incident, authorities said.

Both men were facing charges Tuesday of theft by receiving stolen property. Wallace said the load of designer jeans was valued at about $700,000.

Marlowe said the investigation was ongoing and that other charges could be forthcoming. Anyone with information was asked to call the GBI or the Butts County Sheriff’s Office at (770) 775-8216.