A Florida man accused in what authorities have termed the “most expensive theft in county history” is finally behind bars in North Carolina’s McDowell County six years after they say he committed the crime.
Joseph Roger O’Donnell Jr., 64, of Fort Myers is charged with one count of felony larceny. He was jailed under a $230,000 bond, according to The McDowell News, Marion, N.C.
Sheriff Dudley Greene said O’Donnell is responsible for stealing a motorhome, valued at nearly half a million dollars, off Tom Johnson’s Camping Center’s lot in Marion in October 2003.
The suspect also faced charges in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. He was supposed to be returned to McDowell after disposing of those cases, but, due to an error, he was released. Local authorities learned of O’Donnell’s location and brought him to McDowell earlier this month on the larceny offense.
McDowell investigators recovered the RV in Alabama back in 2003.
The 2004 American Eagle motorhome, valued at $463,000, was shown at an RV sale one weekend in October 2003, brought back to Marion that Sunday and reported missing the following Tuesday.
Later that week, McDowell detectives tracked the vehicle to Nashville, Tenn., but found only the GPS system. The motorhome was gone.
Witnesses in Tennessee were able to ID O’Donnell, and employees at Tom Johnson’s viewed a picture and confirmed that O’Donnell had looked at the motorhome at the RV show just days before the vehicle was taken, according to Greene.
Information about the suspect was entered in a national crime database. Authorities in Georgia located him shortly thereafter and discovered that he was wanted.