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Two charged in holiday heist
Equipment was missing from three north Forsyth businesses
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Forsyth County News

Two men have been arrested as investigation continues into the theft of about $100,000 worth of equipment from three north Forsyth businesses over the July Fourth holiday weekend.


Ricky Joseph Johnson, 46, and Jason Richard Staufer, 28, both of Cumming, were each charged July 10 with theft by receiving stolen property, Forsyth County Sheriff’s investigators said.


Sheriff’s Investigator John Thompson said Johnson recently pleaded guilty to similar charges in Hall County and will have to serve 10 years of a 20-year sentence.


Lt. Col. Gene Moss of the sheriff's office said more details will be released as the probe progresses.


“We do have additional information that we can’t release because we’re in the middle of this investigation,” he said.
Thompson said additional charges could be brought against the men.


“This investigation is continuing and we do expect to make other arrests,” Thompson said, adding that detectives are pursuing several leads.


The thefts occurred during the late night hours of July 5 and 6, Sheriff’s Capt. Paul Taylor said, at Holtzclaw Grading, Turner and Sons Construction and Green Grass Landscaping. All three businesses are on Holtzclaw Road in northern Forsyth County.


“We think they were targeted for their remote location,” Taylor said.


The suspects reportedly took two construction trucks, two utility trailers and a variety of items, including gas-powered air compressors, chain saws, pressure washers, generators and lawn mowers.


Authorities think the trucks and trailers, all but one of which have been recovered, were used to haul the stolen equipment.


Johnson and Staufer were arrested, Thompson said, after a sheriff's deputy stopped their van on Holtzclaw Road. As he was speaking to the men, the deputy noticed equipment in the back of the van that matched descriptions of the missing items.


After checking the serial numbers on the items, investigators confirmed they were part of the stolen equipment.