National Forest Trail Cam Theft Suspect Held On Multiple Charges
Lee Coleman | April 18, 2023
Kevin L. Mote, 36, of Eatonton was arrested on March 18, 2023 and jailed in Putnam County on charges of obstruction of an officer and is accused of the theft of a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) trail camera.
According to DNR Law Enforcement Division Sergeant Lynn Stanford, the last image from a trail camera positioned in Cedar Creek WMA showed the suspect backing up his vehicle to the camera and getting out of the driver’s side door and walking up to the camera.
“We had the camera in an area that is fished a lot and we have seen some illegal ATV as well as mud bogging off-road that goes on down there on this little piece of property,” Stanford said. “That camera had been down there about a month, and when I received an image of this gentleman, I could tell he knew he had been located and seen by the camera.”
When Stanford stopped receiving images from the camera, he said he had a strong expectation the suspect had the camera, and a few hours later, the 20-year veteran went to the site and confirmed the theft. With a partial tag number in hand, it matched the description of the vehicle and the suspect. Within the hour, Stanford added, the suspect had been positively identified, but severe weather thwarted any attempts by law enforcement to move in for an arrest. Stanford, supported by teams from the DNR including a K-9 unit, Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Forest Service, went to the suspect’s home in Eatonton to follow up on the leads.
Additionally, it had been discovered Mote had two outstanding warrants for his arrest in Putnam County, including probation violation and a bench warrant in Superior Court.
“We had a game plan on what he would normally do to evade arrest,” Stanford said. “He was a runner so I called in back-up. When we got there, he was in the yard and he took off on foot. We gave chase and the DNR K-9 agent, Rio, was able to track him into Lake Sinclair where he was attempting to swim away.”
The investigation is continuing and the suspect remains jailed after a search of the suspect’s residence turned up large amounts of equipment, including hunting equipment and lawn equipment.
“Some of the items could have been some of the things you’d find in a deer camp,” Stanford said. “None of it has been identified as stolen, but from my experience, there is a good chance some of it might be stolen.”
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Congratulations to the Ga DNR Rangers, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department and US Forest Officers for making a speedy arrest in this case! Your efforts are much appreciated by all law abiding sportsmen!