Stolen truck recovered two years after theft

OKEECHOBEE — A local man unknowingly purchased a vehicle from a friend that had been stolen two years prior.

The original report on the stolen truck was filed by Deputy Mark Margerum of the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO), and stated that on Feb. 11, 2015 at 9:08 a.m., Deputy Margerum was dispatched to 100 S.R. 78 West (Lock 7). He met with the owner of the truck, who stated that at approximately 8 a.m., he had parked his 2011 white four-door Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck at Lock 7 between the boat ramp and the pier. He then took his bicycle for a ride on the dike. When he returned, he discovered his truck was missing and called the police. The VIN was noted in the report.

According to a report filed by Deputy William Jolly of the OCSO, on May 25, 2017, he responded to a house in the 18000 block of U.S. 441 N. The person, who wished to remain anonymous, allegedly informed the deputy that Johnny Lee Walker, 36, had a stolen small white Chevrolet truck in his possession.

Upon his arrival at the address, he observed a white Chevrolet Colorado truck in the driveway, stated the report. When he called in the tag to dispatch, they reportedly informed him that the tag came back to a white 2005 Chevrolet.

The deputy informed dispatch that the truck he observed seemed to be much newer in appearance. After further inspection of the truck, he allegedly noticed the VIN (vehicle identification number) in the windshield to be deliberately obstructed.

Ronald Campbell

After speaking to Walker, Deputy Jolly pointed out the obstructed VIN and asked if he could open the truck to get the VIN from inside. Walker agreed and opened the door; the VIN reportedly matched the VIN of the stolen truck.

On Monday, June 5, Detective Howard Pickering of the OCSO met with Walker in his office. Walker allegedly stated that he had paid Ronald Campbell, 49, $500 and took a transmission from a Denali belonging to Campbell’s sister and put it back in the vehicle. According to the report, this was in payment for the Colorado truck. Walker stated that he had gotten the truck at the end of February or the first of March of 2017, and that it had been sitting on the lot of a local used car dealership. He also indicated that he was not aware the truck had been stolen until police knocked on his door.

He also indicated that Campbell told him he would get him a title for the truck. However, according to the report, Campbell never did, so Walker took his tag off of a black Ford F-150 and put it on the Chevrolet truck.

Ronald Campbell was arrested on a felony charge of dealing in stolen property. His bond was set at $10,000.

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