2011-06-08 / For The Record

Teens arrested for burglary, arson

By Anne Marie Kyzer annemariek@thetruecitizen.com

A trio of teenage boys was arrested for burglary last week and helped investigators crack a cold case of arson.

Shane Austin Taylor, 17, Justin Ray Coffey, 18, and Cecil Ahliel III, 18, all of Waynesboro, were picked up last Friday after rumors spread they were ready to party with a large quantity of liquor.

Three days earlier, a Marie Vann Road residence had been burglarized and a case of liquor, along with a .22 caliber rifle with ammunition, a cooler and video games, were taken. An EZ GO Workhorse cart was also pushed into the woods as if thieves intended to retrieve it later, according to Sgt. Dan Lowe, an investigator for the Burke County Sheriff’s Office.

“We started hearing reports that some kids in school had a large quantity of alcohol and wanted to either sell it or have people party with them,” Sgt. Lowe said, noting they first picked up Taylor at his home just a few doors down from the burglarized residence. While there, they also recovered the stolen cooler, which had the victim’s name written on it. Taylor admitted his involvement and implicated his accomplices.

Coffey denied playing a part in the burglary. But when investigators picked Ahliel up at his home, where they also found the stolen .22, he admitted to his role in the burglary as well as a break- in and arson he and Coffey allegedly committed nearly a year ago.

In July 2010, Flakes Towing was broken into and a vehicle taken from the shop was later found burned. At the time, Coffey and Ahliel were implicated but Coffey said he knew nothing about it, Sgt. Dedric Smith, an investigator for BCSO, said.

When the pair was arrested on the new charges, Ahliel began talking.

“During the interview with Ahliel, he admitted that he and Coffey broke in and stole the truck and burned it to destroy any evidence,” Sgt. Smith said.

All three teens are charged with burglary and felony theft by taking in connection with the Marie Vann Road break- in. Coffey and Ahliel also face additional charges of burglary, arson in the first degree and theft by taking (motor vehicle) for their involvement in the Flakes Towing case.

Investigators also have reason to believe either one or all three of the teens was involved in a separate burglary sometime last week as well at a vacant building on the corner of River and Ben Hatcher roads. Evidence recovered at the scene may tie them to the theft of a radio and speakers there.

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