FORT PAYNE, Ala. (WHNT) — Fort Payne police offered a $300 reward to anyone who could help them identify a burglar caught on tape, but it was an officer from another police department who spotted and stopped the wanted man.
Fort Payne Police Chief Randy Bynum said 31-year-old Steven Ash is the man in the pictures above. Ash, also known as Stephen Nash, is charged with five counts of burglary for breaking into five homes in northern part of town on Friday, March 1.
One of the homes on Elizabeth Drive had an alarm system that alerted police, and the house next door had several security cameras. The video showed a man driving a white four-door Chevrolet S-10 Blazer, which officers said was a model from 1998 to 2003.
Ider Police Chief Eric Watkins saw a car matching that description Tuesday afternoon.
Watkins chased the driver of the car on foot, and after taking him into custody identified him as Ash. Fort Payne officer Jim Phillips, who also works for the DeKalb County Drug Force Unit, arrived to provide back up and noticed Nash was wearing a green hooded sweatshirt just like one worn by the man in the surveillance video of one of the burglaries.
“He goes to the doors, checks the doors if they’re open and then either opens them or breaks in,” Fort Payne officer Michael Grant said early in the investigation.
“What concerns us here at the police is he’s stealing firearms. There have been four or five firearms so far along with jewelry and laptops and stuff like that,” Grant said.
Chief Bynum said investigators connected Ash to several other DeKalb County burglaries involving guns and other items. He said Ash confessed to a large number of crimes.
Fort Payne Mayor Larry Chesser authorized a reward starting at $300 for information that led to the arrest and conviction of the burglar, but Bynum said Chief Watkins is ineligible.