Sheriff says suspect driving stolen truck with VIN from similar burned vehicle

An arrest has been made in connection with a residential burglary reported almost 10 months ago on Southard Lane at Norfork.

Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery says 35-year-old Tyler Paul Hudgens of Norfork has been arrested after investigators determined he was allegedly driving a truck reported stolen in August 2018 with a VIN plate from a similar vehicle.

Sheriff Montgomery says the homeowner reported the burglary last year after someone broke into her residence and barn. The front door of the residence was ajar and damaged. The drawers, cabinets, boxes and closets in the home had been ransacked. In addition, an electric range and a gas wall heater valued at $1,600 were stolen.

Items in the barn were moved around, after forcible entry was made. A 1987 grey Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck with an estimated value of $2,500 was also stolen. The victim stated the battery on the truck was dead. In the high grass around the area, it was evident the truck had been hauled away on a trailer.

Montgomery says in late 2018 information was developed indicating Hudgens was driving a stolen late model grey Chevrolet pickup truck. An Arkansas State Police trooper stopped Hudgens while he was driving the truck. However, a check of the vehicle identification number plate attached to the truck did not show a return as stolen, and no further action was taken at that time.

This month information surfaced again that Hudgens was driving a stolen grey Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck. Investigators were told Hudgens had removed the vehicle identification number plate from a similar vehicle burned in a fire and placed it on the truck he was driving. On or about May 16, officers were able to locate another “hidden” vehicle identification number on the upper frame of the truck. This VIN matched the one of the truck reported stolen during the burglary last year.

Hudgens was arrested Tuesday and charged with felony counts of residential burglary, breaking or entering, defacing or altering VIN and theft of property. He also faces an enhanced penalty as a habitual offender.

Hudgens’ bond was set at $25,000, and he is set to appear in circuit court Thursday.

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