Dwayne Thompson of Mountain Home entered guilty pleas to charges in eight criminal cases filed against him and no contest to a single case. He was given 13 years in prison and ordered to pay almost $66,000 in restitution to various victims during a session of Baxter County Circuit Court Thursday.
Because of the sheer volume of charges involved in Thompson's various cases, it took Judge John Putman almost 30 minutes to complete the lengthy plea taking process. At one point in the process, Judge Putman commented he believed it was the largest number of cases filed against one individual since he had been on the bench.
The 42-year-old Thompson's problems with the law began when he wrote a bad check for almost $3,800 to a local business in July last year for construction materials. Thompson then launched a year-long crime spree. His charges include breaking into homes, a shop building, storage units and a commercial establishment in various parts of the county.
The majority of the charges against Thompson were formally filed in December of last year.
The episode came to an end early this year when he was stopped by a Mountain Home police officer and found to have methamphetamine in his possession, as well as a marijuana cigarette and a handgun in the passenger compartment of the vehicle.
The officer reported he made the stop because he was aware Thompson's driver's license had been suspended.
The quantity of Thompson's haul from the various thefts was substantial. In fact, it took five trailers to transport the items to the Baxter County Fairgrounds where they could be displayed in an effort to reunite the stolen property with its rightful owners.
In one break-in, Thompson was charged with participating in the handling of an estimated $25,000 worth of tools, welding equipment and rims and tires taken from a shop building located along County Road 27.
The stolen items Thompson was accused to taking or at least handling, incuding a record collection, wall art, collectible Barbie dolls in display packaging, a round dining table, wood carvings, musical equipment, a flat screen television set, power washer and -- oddly enough --- two sets of architectural plans rendered for the Baxter County Humane Society and allegedly taken from an outbuilding located along Timberland Road.
At one point in the investigation, a cooperating individual came forward and provided information to investigators regarding several thefts that had occurred in the area.
The informant also told investigators where stolen property was being stored by Thompson, and the location from which some of the items had been taken.
Thompson was eventually tied to a large number of break-ins and burglaries. As he sat in the Baxter County jail, the investigation continued, and new cases were opened when he was identified as the person who had taken various items.
At points, Thompson would make bond and be free for a time. He has, however, been in jail on a continuous basis since mid-February when his bond was revoked apparently triggered by several misdemeanor charges being handled in District Court.
During an earlier appearance, Thompson told the court he had actually slept in a house he had broken into and robbed for a few nights because he "had no where else to stay." He told the judge during an appearance several months ago he had been a "good father and a good worker for 25 years," but his life began a rapid downward spiral after he encountered domestic problems. Thompson said, "I don't know what happened at that point, I just went off the rails."
When all of the cases had been filed against Thompson, he faced a total of 20 felony and two misdemeanor counts.
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