Man arrested following multiple theft incidents


The Urbana Police Division recovered stolen items including a firearm after arresting a man Sunday following a string of reported thefts.

Jeffery A. Whitt, 29, was charged with third degree felony theft and a third degree felony having weapons while under disability charge.

According to information from Urbana Police Chief Matt Lingrell, Urbana police arrested Whitt late Sunday afternoon after a short chase. Police spent most of the day investigating complaints of overnight thefts from cars, from the northwestern portion of the city.

The first reported theft was made to police at 10:18 a.m. from 304 Laurel Oak St., and before the end of the shift police had investigated four more cases.

At each scene, police recovered blood evidence Police said they thought the suspect possibly had been cut while stealing from the first vehicle and continued to bleed during the other crimes, leaving blood DNA at each scene.

The stolen property included a GPS, a cell phone, money, prescription medications, tools, a knife, clothes and miscellaneous personal items.

At 5:05 p.m., officers were dispatched to the 68 Motel, 856 N. Main St., on the report of a disturbance in a room.

When officers went there to investigate they found that Whitt had rented a room for himself as well as three other people staying with him, in conflict with the rental agreement. One of the other people told officers that Whitt had just left the room prior to their arrival.

Inside the room, officers observed fresh blood in various places and learned that Whitt was bleeding. They also observed items listed as stolen from the car theft cases laying out in the room.

At 6:29 p.m., as officers were attempting to locate Whitt for questioning, a resident in the 100 block of North Locust Street called police to report he had just caught an individual stealing from his vehicle parked along the street. He reported that he tried to restrain the man from leaving but the man took off on foot.

The description given by this victim fit the physical of Whitt.

Officers converged on the area and a chase of Whitt began involving Sgt. Ed Burkhammer and officer Mike Cooper. At 6:34 p.m., Whitt was taken into custody at gunpoint in the alleyway between the 200-block of East Church and Ward Streets.

After being placed in custody, Whitt cooperated with police and gave a statement to them regarding multiple theft cases. Police recovered various stolen items from his room including a .380 caliber handgun which was reportedly stolen from a car parked inside a garage somewhere in the city, but police have yet to locate that scene or victim.

Other victims visited the police division throughout the day on Monday to identify the recovered stolen property belonging to them.

Whitt was logged into the Tri-County Jail, Mechanicsburg, Sunday night. Lingrell stated the remaining theft cases will be presented to an upcoming Champaign County grand jury for possible criminal indictments.

His bond was established at $50,000 on Monday during an arraignment hearing in the Champaign County Municipal Court. A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for March 28.


Pictured is a handgun the Urbana Police Division recovered after arresting a man allegedly involved in a string of reported thefts Sunday. is a handgun the Urbana Police Division recovered after arresting a man allegedly involved in a string of reported thefts Sunday. Photo courtesy of the Urbana Police Division

By Nick Walton

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Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.

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