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WBRC interview nabs suspects in year-old theft case

Published: Jun. 2, 2016 at 3:55 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 3, 2016 at 1:32 AM CDT
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CALHOUN COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - Calhoun County authorities confirm a television interview solved a year-old theft case, when the suspects appeared on WBRC FOX6.

Chief Deputy Matthew Wade says the two women, Sherry Robinson and Gail Harbin, live together on Mudd Street, not far from the Calhoun-Talladega line and not far from an officer-involved shooting involving Lincoln Police at an Eastaboga convenience store.

It was while she was covering that story that WBRC FOX6 Reporter Lydia Hu says the two women approached her and volunteered the interview. They appeared on camera together, side by side, in the WBRC Saturday newscasts at 9 and 10 p.m.

Wade says the owner of Valley Antiques in Alexandria saw the women on WBRC and recognized them.

"(She) realized, 'That's the two women who stole my stuff that I have on security video,'" Wade said.

Wade says the incident in question happened in April 2015 when someone broke into her store and stole several barstools and Miller Lite pool table lamps. He says the deputy who responded to her call tracked down the women's names and address, and found the two had furnished their home with the stolen items. In fact, Wade says one of the women confessed to one other stolen item the shop owner apparently missed: an "Alabama" sign that was on display in the back yard.

Wade said deputies also found and seized 12 marijuana plants, which were sent to a forensics lab to be processed. Wade said the plants were young, since this is growing season, and did not yet have buds.

The two women are charged with third-degree possession of stolen property but couldn't be charged with the original theft due to a statute of limitations issue. Harbin is also charged with resisting arrest, and Wade says the marijuana plants could lead to further charges.

Wade pointed to the sheriff's office and its longtime relationship with the news media, and noted the sheriff's office even has its own show, "Calhoun County's Most Wanted," that airs locally. Wade said it is always  helpful when the media helps law enforcement with a case, and when the suspects themselves unwittingly help.

"If you're going to be a thief and you're going to steal things, you might want to shy away from interviews with the television markets that can get you caught, as it did in this case," Wade told reporters at a news conference. "We appreciate their willingness to get in front of a camera and expose themselves to hundreds of thousands of people, because it really helped us solve this case."?

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