Yowell charged in multi-county crime spree

Published 11:50 am Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A 55-year-old homeless man is charged in connection with a year-long multi-county larceny investigation that spanned Charlotte, Buckingham, Appomattox, Cumberland, Prince Edward and Campbell counties.

Austin Maurice Yowell was arrested Nov. 10, according to a press release from the Buckingham County Sheriff’s Office.

“Yowell is connected to various thefts that have occurred since May 2014 into hunting cabins, vacation homes, and absentee landowners [and] is facing numerous criminal charges in connection to these thefts, including misdemeanors and felonies, and is being held without bond at the Piedmont Regional Jail in Farmville,” Buckingham Sheriff William G. “Billy” Kidd Jr. said.

According to the release, the earliest known theft occurred in Prince Edward in May 2014 and “continued until his arrest on Nov. 10 when Special Agent Timothy Cox with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles apprehended Yowell on Tower Hill Road in the Toga area. …,” the release stated.

Authorities suspect a co-conspirator is “fencing most of the stolen stuff … It’s got to be sitting somewhere,” said Buckingham investigator Brent Uzdanovics. “We’ve got a lot, a lot of stuff missing since 2014. The other counties got lots of stuff too, like ATVs and all sorts of stuff … There’s also indication that he might have worked as a day hand on farms to some degree. So, we’re trying to establish where me might have been staying for short periods of time … .”

Yowell was found driving a 1997 Ford F-250 two-tone truck that allegedly links him to thefts in Buckingham and neighboring counties, Kidd said.

According to authorities, “A prior traffic stop by a Campbell County sheriff’s deputy assisted investigators in identifying Yowell as the suspect in these thefts.”

“Yowell was finally brought to justice and will be reprimanded for his actions,” Kidd said. “This investigation is a true testament to area investigators coming together and collaborating to solve such a far-reaching crime spree. Their efforts reflect dedication and commitment to solving crime and protecting our communities no matter the geographical boundaries.”

The investigation is ongoing, and the public is asked to contact the sheriff’s office with information about Yowell or his truck.

His Ford had “Farm Use” licence plates and was a regular cab diesel pickup, according to the release.

“Investigators would like to identify where Yowell may have lived and worked in the area. Please contact the Buckingham County Sheriff’s Office at (434) 969-1772 with any tips that may assist in the investigation,” Kidd said.

According to the release, Yowell’s last known address was Front Royal.