Update: Arrests in Theft of Church Van Used in Burglary


MONTICELLO, Ark. – Two local men are jailed on a string of charges after being arrested in the investigation of the theft of a church van that officials say was later used in a burglary.

The Drew County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) says Hunter Barnett, 22, and Reggie Wherry, 40, were taken into custody last week.

Drew County Sheriff Mark Gober says his agency worked with the Monticello Police Department (MPD) on the case. The MPD shared video of a break-in from Dec. 28 at an apartment complex known as Weevil Run on Bowser Road. The video showed a van backed up to the side door of one apartment and a white male with a mask on going in and out. The suspect was taking property from the apartment and putting it into the van. It was later learned that the van in the video had been stolen from Shady Grove Baptist Church located on Hwy. 425 and Hwy. 172 and was found in Monticello on Deerfield Drive. 

When Barnett was brought in for an interview, the DCSO says he admitted to breaking into the apartment and stealing several items. He also reportedly admitted that he drove the van to Deerfield Dr. where he left it at the end of the road and walked to the nearby Spring Branch neighborhood through a wooded area. Barnett said the day before in the early morning hours was the first time the apartments were broken in to by Wherry, Barnett and an unknown female that stayed in Wherry’s vehicle. Barnett also admitted to the theft of a .22 caliber handgun stolen days before from a home on Hwy 425 S. in the county. With that new information, the video from the same camera on Dec. 27 was viewed and the DCSO says it clearly showed Wherry and Barnett breaking into an apartment at Weevil Run.

Barnett has been charged with residential burglary, theft of property, theft of a firearm, and theft of a motor vehicle. His bond was set at $30,000 commercial on MPD charges and $30,000 commercial on DCSO charges. Wherry was charged with residential burglary, theft of property, possession of meth, and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond was set at $25,000 commercial on MPD charges and $10,000 commercial on 10th Judicial Drug Task Force charges. When Wherry was arrested, the DCSO says he had a crystal-like substance and a pipe in his car.

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