published Friday, December 30th, 2011

Police charge Dalton man in several burglaries


by Andrew Pantazi

DALTON BURGLARIES


Location — Amount stolen — Date

• Thermal Systems, 464 Callahan Road — $20,000 — November 2010; November 2011; Dec. 15, 2011

• Polystar chemical plant, 408 Brook Hollow Drive — $2,000 — Dec. 10; Dec. 26

• Fiber Tech, 423 Callahan Road — $4,500 — Dec. 25

• Whitfield Memorial Gardens, 710 W. Cuyler St. — $1,000 — Dec. 1

• Barrett Carpet Mills, 2216 Abutment Road — $5,000 — Dec. 5

• Custom Textile, 213 Boring Drive — $2,000 — Aug. 7

Source: Dalton Police Department

A Dalton, Ga., man whose truck resembled one seen at a burglarized chemical plant has been charged in connection with nine burglaries, most committed in the last month.

Loyal Franklin Elam III, 47, is charged with eight counts of burglary, six counts of theft by taking and one count of loitering and prowling, said Dalton police spokesman Bruce Frazier. He could be charged with more crimes, Frazier said.

A total of $34,500 worth of property went missing, Frazier said, and at least $10,000 worth has been found. But more property must be processed and returned to its owners before police will know exactly how much has been recovered, he said.

"We still hope to find that property," Frazier said, "but it's possible that he already converted it to money."

Elam was first arrested Monday on a charge of prowling after authorities spotted his truck pulling behind an abandoned house on Callahan Road. The truck resembled one seen on surveillance video during a burglary Monday at the Polystar chemical plant on Brook Hollow Drive, Frazier said.

As Elam tried to pull the truck away, a Whitfield County Sheriff's deputy and several Dalton police officers arrested him.

Dalton police interviewed Elam, who has a previous arrest record, and searched his house. Investigators found power tools, computers and other equipment that matched the items stolen in commercial burglaries, Frazier said. The items were returned to their original owners.

The investigation is complex, Frazier said, because there were separate investigations on many of the burglary cases, and now the detectives must come together to figure it all out.

"It's kind of a complex deal," Frazier said, "but they're all trying to work together."

Frazier said the detectives working the investigation are trying to see if Elam might be connected to any other unsolved commercial burglaries.

"We are hoping that people that have had commercial-type burglaries with the same types of businesses or [in] the same area try to get in touch with us," Frazier said. "That's the next step."

about Andrew Pantazi...

Andrew Pantazi is an intern at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who says that when he was 7 he knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life: play hockey for the Colorado Avalanche. Unfortunately, he says he wasn't any good at hockey, so he became a journalist instead. He writes about the lives we hide, like the man who suffered a stroke but smiled, or the football walk-on who endured 5 ...

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