"Professional Thief" Arrested in Connection with Crime Wave - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

"Professional Thief" Arrested in Connection with Crime Wave

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© West Virginia Regional Jail Authority; PICTURED: Vernon Estep © West Virginia Regional Jail Authority; PICTURED: Vernon Estep
© West Virginia Regional Jail Authority; PICTURED: Clinton Hall © West Virginia Regional Jail Authority; PICTURED: Clinton Hall
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FAYETTEVILLE -

A string of break-ins around Fayette, Raleigh and Boone counties could be over.  Fayette County Sheriff's deputies made a pair of arrests on Friday, Nov. 16.

Investigators have been tracking Clinton Hall, 38, of Mossy for several weeks.  They call him a "professional thief" in a news release.  Investigators believe Hall may have been responsible for more than 14 break-ins around the area over the past four months.

The crime wave may have begun with the break-in at the Custard Stand in the Lochgelly area of Oak Hill.  That happened back on July 8.  Money was stolen from the safe.  Since then other businesses have suffered similar break-ins.  Investigators said that tips and surveillance video lead them to Clinton Hall.

Detectives tracked Hall's truck to Smithers on Friday morning, and officers found out there had been a break-in at the nearby Taco Bell.  Deputies stopped Hall's truck and found money they believe was missing from the Taco Bell and "burglary tools" in the back of the truck.

Hall is charged with one count of breaking and entering and one count of grand larceny.  Another man in the truck was also arrested.  Vernon Estep, 52, of Gallagher, W.Va. was charged as an accessory after the fact. 

Sheriff Steve Kessler said that other charges could be pending against Hall and Estep.  Other arrests could also be made in the "very near future."

"At this time we have been able to link Clinton Hall to at least 11 incidents of breaking and entering in Fayette County, one in Raleigh County and two in Boone County," said Sheriff Kessler.  "All of these incidents have occurred in the last four months."

Investigators said more than $50,000 dollars has been stolen from the businesses.

"Information gathered during the course of this investigation indicates that nearly all of the money stolen during this series of crimes was used by Clinton Hall to purchase drugs," said Kessler.

Both Hall and Estep have been convicted of theft in the past.  Hall is being held in the Southern Regional Jail.