Wilkes County Deer Camp Thief Caught

These criminals caught by a genius plan to use a cooler and a tracking device.

Simone Gibson | January 16, 2019

A deer hunter from Cumming, who wishes to remain anonymous, helped law enforcement officers catch a man after equipment and hunting supplies began to disappear from his Wilkes County hunting camp early in 2018.

“I was really upset. I had felt like my rights had been violated,” said the hunter.

After things went missing, and his hunting club gate lock had been cut with bolt cutters, the hunter called the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Department and met with Investigator Jason Gaddy.

“My son had told me that we should look into getting a tracker and setting up a trap to catch the criminal,” said the hunter.

During a meeting with Gaddy in February 2018, the hunter shared that he had plans to install a GPS tracking device into a cooler valued at $200, and that he would leave the cooler at his hunting camp. If someone stole the cooler, the hunter would be notified from a smart phone app that the cooler was moving. The hunter would then call Gaddy. It was a perfect plan.

On April 10, 2018, the hunter phoned Gaddy that the cooler was moving on Callaway Road. This led Gaddy and Wilkes County Investigator Philiph Perkins to an area with some chicken houses, which is where they met Joe Pitts, 57, of Buford. As the verbal investigation began, it was soon discovered through dispatch that Pitts had an active arrest warrant out of Gwinnett County for burglary. At that point, Pitts was placed under arrest.

After the arrest, Gaddy and Perkins began to question Pitts about the cooler and some other items that were visible in the back of his truck. Pitts said that all the items were his. As the law enforcement officers continued their line of questioning, they caught Pitts in several lies. Pitts even stated that he and his son were members of the hunting club where he had been that morning to retrieve the cooler.

Have you seen this carving? It belongs to a Wilkes County hunter who had it stolen from his hunting camp.

At that point, Gaddy removed the cooler from the truck bed and announced it had a GPS unit inside. Gaddy called the hunter to make sure he didn’t know Pitts or his son, and the hunter didn’t know either man.

The hunter was able to recover his cooler but was unable to recover all his other possessions taken previously. One of his prized possessions is still missing, a 4-foot wooden carving of a mountain man that he inherited from his mother-in-law.

If anyone has information on its whereabout on this carving, contact GON at [email protected], and we’ll put you in touch with the hunter. A $200 cash award will be given for information that helps lead to the return of the carving.

Pitts was sentenced on Nov. 19 and is currently serving a 12-month prison term for two different theft charges. After that, he’ll be on probation for 5 years.

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  1. one hogman on January 31, 2019 at 12:15 pm

    Too bad More of these THUGS are not caught! It warms my heart to see one sent to jail,

  2. garyh on January 24, 2019 at 10:16 am

    Joe Ransome Pitts, 57, of Buford, Georgia, was arrested by Wilkes County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Gaddy on April 10 and charged with first degree burglary. Bond was set at $10,000. No release was noted.

    They need to post a picture of this guy to let other people with trailcamera pictures in the area of other camps being robbed tag charges onto this dirtbag.

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