FOX Carolina viewer tip leads to arrests in trailer theft - FOX Carolina 21

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FOX Carolina viewer tip leads to arrests in trailer theft

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Suspects work on a trailer. (March 13, 2104/FOX Carolina) Suspects work on a trailer. (March 13, 2104/FOX Carolina)

Deputies said two suspects have been charged in the theft of a trailer belonging to a Upstate animal rescue group, all thanks to a tip from a FOX Carolina viewer.

Greenville police said the kennels belonging to the Abbeville-based Upstate Animal Rescue Foundation and a trailer owned by Paul Handford, one of the group's volunteers, were stolen Tuesday.

Police said a utility worker witnessed the theft and provided officers with a description of the suspect and the vehicle used in the theft.

Thursday, Greenville County deputies said a tip from a FOX Carolina viewer led them to the home of Russell and Amanda Cooley in the Carolina Estates Mobile Home Park, where deputies said they located the stolen trailer.

The viewer emailed FOX Carolina with information about where the trailer might be, and we then passed the info along to Greenville County deputies. Before deputies arrived, FOX Carolina cameras captured the Cooleys painting a trailer in their driveway.

FOX Carolina's Adrian Acosta said his video camera was rolling when officers arrived and placed the Cooleys in custody.

Acosta said deputies also seized several guns and high-powered rifles from inside the home. Deputies also told Acosta a stolen moped was recovered at the Cooley home and returned to its owner.

Pickens County deputies showed up at the scene too, Acosta said, and took another man who was inside the home into custody on an outstanding warrant.

Greenville County deputies said they are investigating whether the Cooleys are involved in recent trailer thefts reported in the county.

The Cooleys are charged with petit larceny in connection with the theft of Handford's trailer.

Handford said he's very thankful to the viewer who called in the tip, police and to FOX Carolina for helping get his trailer back.

"I never expected to see it again," Handford said about the trailer. "But I ended up getting it back in better shape than it was."

Handford said the trailer had been repainted and the taillights fixed and said it had new wiring.

As the Cooleys were being taken into custody, both claimed they were innocent and said they bought the trailer on Craigslist.

According to Upstate Animal Rescue Foundation, the kennels that were stolen with the trailer were not recovered. The group is still collecting donations to replace the kennels so they can continue to rescue dogs and hold adoption events across the area. Click here for more information on how you can help.

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