One suspect apprehended Wednesday after trying to break into a Rutherford County home faces additional charges after more than $25,000 in stolen property was allegedly recovered from his vehicle, detectives said.
Detectives from Franklin, Bedford, Moore and Coffee counties searched through the stolen property recovered from a car driven by suspect David Zwarton, 34, of Tullahoma. About $25,000 worth of jewelry was identified as being stolen from a Franklin County home.
The investigation began Wednesday when a man driving a maroon car allegedly tried to break into a house on Hutson Road, Rutherford County Sheriff’s Deputy Rick Emslie reported.
Deputy Joey Vann stopped Zwarton while driving a maroon car a few minutes later near Rockvale. As Vann approached the suspect, the deputy heard something drop and recovered more than 100 prescription pills.
Vann charged Zwarton with three counts of felony possession of the prescription pills. While inventorying the car, he found $12,000 cash and a large amount of jewelry.
Zwarton was released on $3,000 bond. A hearing is set Aug. 27 in General Sessions Court.Rutherford County Detective Steve Brown contacted detectives from four other counties who reported home burglaries where witnesses saw the suspect driving a maroon car.
Investigator Brian Brewer of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office said victims reported home about seven or eight home burglaries since July 18.
“He’s been targeting mostly jewelry,” Brewer said.
A man broke into the home of a 100-year-old Franklin County woman Tuesday who awoke from a nap, the investigator said. When he saw her, he fled. She gave a description of the car similar to the one driven by Zwarton.
Someone stole about $25,000 in jewelry Sunday from a Franklin County home. The owners identified the jewelry as being stolen from their home and hugged Deputy Vann.
Sheriff Robert Arnold commended the Sheriff's Office employees who were involved in the case.
"It's always gratifying when we are able to arrest a suspect and return stolen property to the owner," Sheriff Arnold said.
Franklin County Investigator Robert Tipps obtained warrants charging Zwarton with aggravated burglary and theft. Brewer said more charges are pending.
Deputy Chief Mike Rainey of Moore County Sheriff’s Department said Zwarton is linked to two home burglaries. One victim owns both houses. Deeds and insurance papers were recovered.
The description of the burglar’s car is the same description as Zwarton’s, Rainey said, adding charges are pending against Zwarton.
Bedford County Detective Chad Webster said victims reported six burglaries and two attempted burglaries since May 14. He reviewed the recovered property but did not believe any of the jewelry was stolen from Bedford County.
“He (Zwarton) is definitely a person of interest,” Webster said, adding Zwarton’s vehicle matches the one believed used in the Bedford County burglaries. “The clues add up to the same person.”
Coffee County Sgt. Danny Ferrell said eight burglaries occurred since last Tuesday in Coffee County. Three witnesses reported the suspect left in a maroon car.