Thieves arrested for stealing from Forest Service fee collection boxes

CLAYTON Last Thursday, the Rabun County Sheriff’s Office arrested two North Carolina men who had been allegedly stealing money out of forest service collection boxes.

During the afternoon hours around 3 p.m. last Thursday, RCSO learned that a BOLO had been placed on a two-door Ford Escort which had supposedly been involved in a string of thefts.

Christopher Bruce Cole

Christopher Bruce Cole

According to Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Officer Beth Gilbert, the occupants of the suspected vehicle had been prying the self-service deposit boxes open and nabbing all of the forest service money envelopes inside.

Law enforcement identified a vehicle fitting the description and proceeded to make a traffic stop on GA 15 and Rickman Airfield Road. 

The responding deputy approached the vehicle and questioned the occupants inside the Ford Escort whether or not they had been involved with breaking into the fee collection boxes to which they both responded with, “no.”

The driver was identified as Clyde Parker of Robbinsville, North Carolina and the passenger Christopher Bruce Cole of Bryson, North Carolina.

 Clyde Parker

Clyde Parker

After confirming with Gilbert the license plate number was a match with that of the BOLO, the driver of the suspected vehicle Parker, 53, was asked to step outside for questioning.

More law enforcement and DNR officers arrived on scene to assist after consent from Parker to search the vehicle was obtained.

Passenger Cole, 44, was also asked to step outside from the vehicle while the search was conducted.

Upon conducting the search, law enforcement recovered a crowbar with green paint on the end of it, two pry bars with green handles that also had green paint on the ends of them, two retractable claw grabbing tools and two packs of Raid fly ribbons.

Also recovered from the search was a slew of drug paraphernalia objects; two plastic baggies containing suspected methamphetamine residue in a container between the passenger seat and center console and a purple crown royal bag full of “drugs,” which was located in Cole’s pants.

Handcuffs were administered while deputies removed the bag and opened it up to find aproximentley $1,200 in marijuana, a bag containing a clear crystal substance suspected to be methamphetamine and two glass pipes.  

After recovering the drugs, Cole admitted to law enforcement that he was the one breaking into the forest service money collection boxes. He said Parker would drop him off, let him break into the boxes and then proceed to come back to pick him up.

Both Cole and Parker were arrested and transported to the Rabun County Detention Center.

Parker was charged with trafficking in cocaine, illegal drugs or marijuana, possession of tools for the commission of a crime and possession and use of drug-related objects. Cole was also charged with possession of tools for the commission of a crime and possession and use of drug-related objects.