22 arrested in Anderson Co. burglary ring - FOX Carolina 21

22 arrested in Anderson Co. burglary ring

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ANDERSON, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Anderson County deputies said Thursday they arrested 22 people after a three-week-long investigation into a burglary ring.

Investigators said the group worked together and individually to execute more than 30 break-ins and steal more than $160,000-worth of items, including golf carts, four-wheelers, fire arms and vehicles.

Melvin Bright said he was a victim, and lost at least $25,000, so he went searching for his stolen property, including generators, hand and power tools, and a 2011 Razer S 4-wheeler. Bright said while searching, he stopped at a convenience store in Elberton, Ga.

Bright said the clerk told him, "yeah if you'd been here twenty minutes ago, you prob woulda seen the guy you was hunting for.. said he was going back to Anderson county to steal some more things where he could prob buy him some more drugs."

Deputies said during a news conference on Thursday that they were able to recover about $25,000-worth of items that had been stolen.

Investigators said charges in the case include burglary, grand larceny, petit larceny, motor vehicle theft, receiving stolen property and operating a chop shop.

The accused ring leader, Tommy Michael McClain saw a judge for three more charges Thursday afternoon. The judge said he had more than thirty other charges pending against him, too.

Via video screen, McClain said "I've been framed for a lot of this.." before the judge cut him off, and told him that he would be in court December 16 to plead his case.

Sheriff John Skipper said McClain, and many others in the ring, have criminal backgrounds. The sheriff said he wants the court system to put them in jail longer.

Officials said they continue to look for a 23rd member of the theft ring, as well as more of the stolen property.

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