By Nita Johnson
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Renovating a home is expensive, but three people who devised a plot to make it cheaper — and financially profitable — were jailed for their roles in the plan.
The plan began falling apart when Laurel County Sheriff’s officials answered a call of a theft just after 5 p.m. Tuesday. The caller said the suspect vehicle was headed on U.S. 25, one mile north of London.
Deputies Greg Turner, Steve Hoskins, and Robbie Grimes began the search for a silver Dodge pickup, and located it, still traveling north. As deputies approached, however, the vehicle attempted to elude police. The passengers in the vehicle, 39-year-old Anthony Ayers and his wife, 35-year-old Linda Sizemore, both of Combs, Ky., were placed under arrest following the chase.
The investigation into the incident led to bigger things. Ayers and Sizemore allegedly wrote bad checks to several local businesses for items such as mattresses, carpet, furniture, lumber, and flooring and then sold the stolen items for cash to 55-year-old Melissa Hill of Stinnett, Ky. Hill gave the couple half of the value of the merchandise.
According to officials involved with the case, Hill owned a mobile home on Keve Lane in northern Laurel County, off Old Hare Road. Hill would accompany Ayers and Sizemore to area stores and pick out the items she wanted to renovate the mobile home. The couple would then return to the store, issue a bad check for the items, and deliver them to Hill’s rental trailer that was being remodeled and renovated.
Inside the residence was a wide array of stolen items that included a brand new Amana washer and dryer, a new Whirlpool side-by-side refrigerator/freezer, a bedroom suite with mattress set, tables, weed eaters, a chair and ottoman set, and several other items still in their boxes — a padded patio set that included a bench, two chairs and a table, and a grill.
Sheriff’s officials said that much work had already been performed in the renovation process, including laminate wood floors throughout the home, wood paneling on the walls and vinyl wallpaper in a walk-in closet in the bedroom.
Ayers and Sizemore were charged with theft by deception for the bad checks under $10,000 and third-degree forgery. Ayers was additionally charged with 24 outstanding bench warrants from three different counties. Sizemore was also charged with three outstanding warrants.
Melissa Hill was charged with receiving stolen property over $10,000.
All three were arraigned in Laurel District Court on Wednesday morning and Ayers and Sizemore were placed under $2,500 cash bond. Hill’s bond was set at $5,000 surety bond to family members and the condition that she have no further contact with Ayers or Sizemore.
Stolen property recovered included items from Laurel Carpet, S & K Traders, and 84 Lumber Company. Laurel County Sheriff John Root said much of the stolen items had been returned to their owners, however, other items still remain and anyone who received a check from Ayers and/or Sizemore should contact the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office. Anyone missing items from their store or other facility that might be part of the inventory at the Keve Lane residence is urged to contact the sheriff’s office at (606) 864-6600.
The continuing investigation and arrest of Melissa Hill was conducted by Detective Sgt. Tommy Johnston and Detective Jason Back.
Other persons assisting included Sheriff John Root, Chief Deputy Eddy Sizemore, Senior Sgt. Greg Poynter, Deputy Shawn Boroviak and Deputy Gilbert Acciardo. Constable Tim May also assisted at the scene.