Man charged with stealing air conditioning units from preschool in Henagar

Charles Ray Ledon Wilbanks (Photo: DeKalb County Sheriff's Office)

FORT PAYNE, Ala. A man is in custody for allegedly stealing air conditioning units from a preschool in Henagar. Charles Ray Ledon Wilbanks, 39, is facing a charge of first-degree property theft and is awaiting extradition to DeKalb County.

DeKalb County Sheriff Nick Weldon confirmed that the units were taken from the Busy Bees Preschool on Highway 75 in Henagar on August 21.

Henagar Police began investigating with the help of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office. Investigators say Wilbanks is also thought to be responsible for another theft at DeSoto State Park.

Witnesses gave investigators a description of a man and vehicle that was in the area at the time of both thefts. Investigators learned that Charles Wilbanks was pulled over by the Sylvania Police Department while driving a vehicle matching the description.

Authorities say that Wilbanks currently lives near Rome, Georgia and after checking with several scrap yards in the area, it was discovered he had sold a large number of air conditioning components recently.

Shortly after obtaining a warrant for Wilbanks’ arrest, a scrap yard notified investigators that he had arrived to sell more air conditioning parts. The Rome Police Department was notified and quickly made an arrest.

Wilbamnsk is currently being held in the Floyd County Jail awaiting extradition to the DeKalb County Detention Center.

DeKalb County Sheriff Nick Welden made a statement on the arrest:

“I’d like to congratulate our investigators on another job well done. The close cooperation among local agencies was essential in closing this case. One of our goals at the sheriff’s office has been to foster a good working relationship with our fellow agencies.”

“A good working relationship is essential to closing these cases, as many criminals commit thefts away from where they live to hopefully fly under the radar. That didn’t work out for them in this case.”

“I’d also like to thank the Rome Police Department who quickly moved to make an arrest before they could steal again. It’s a shame they would choose to leave small children without air conditioning on these hot days.”

“God Bless,” concluded Sheriff Welden.

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