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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Tomes guilty in burglary spree

Friday, August 31, 2012

Austin Tomes
(Bedford County Jail photo)
A Tullahoma man is facing a long prison term after being found guilty of a number of burglaries in Bedford County, while his alleged partners in crime have upcoming court dates.

Following a three-day trial, Austin Lawrence Tomes, 20, was found guilty of 10 counts of aggravated burglary, nine counts of theft of property under $10,000 and a single charge of theft under $500.

Sentencing will take place Oct. 12, with Circuit Court Judge Lee Russell to decide how much time Tomes must serve, which will depend on any previous criminal record.


According to assistant district attorney Richard Cawley, the charges are only for crimes committed in this county. Tomes has already pleaded guilty to a charge in Moore County, Cawley said, and there are more charges pending in Coffee County.

Tomes is looking at four to five years on each count, Cawley said, but it will be up to Russell as to how those sentences will be combined.

Cawley also praised the work and cooperation of Detective Sgt. Brian Crews of the Shelbyville Police Department and Detective Scott Jones of the Bedford County Sheriff's Department.

Jones said he was thrilled with the jury's verdict, also thanking Tullahoma investigator Jason Kennedy for his work on the case, as well as Crews "for getting the ball rolling on this," and praising Cawley's work on prosecuting the case.

Other defendants

Meanwhile, trial dates have been set for one of Tomes' co-defendants, while the other will have to make a choice which way his case goes.

Joey William Ostrander, 19, of Tullahoma faces a jury trail on Sept. 24-25 on with nine counts of aggravated burglary, eight counts of theft of property under $10,000 and a single count of theft under $500. Ostrander will appear on Sept. 6 for pretrial motions.

On the same day, Christopher Alan Perry, 18, of Oakwood Place, Shelbyville, will decide to either make a plea or go on to trial. He is charged with 10 counts of aggravated burglary, nine counts of theft of property under $10,000, a single charge of theft under $500 and a count of attempted robbery.

Multi-county spree

Detectives from Shelbyville, Bedford County and Tullahoma have previously alleged the three are responsible for a number of break-ins in their jurisdictions, as well as in Manchester and Moore, Franklin and Coffee counties.

A break in the investigation came last December when Kennedy learned that Perry was allegedly selling items on the Internet.

Perry was arrested at a Madison Street convenience store by Kennedy and Crews after the Tullahoma officer arranged a meeting to buy a $400 Samsung Galaxy tablet for $220.

However, the detectives learned there was no tablet in the bag Perry was carrying and that he intended to rob the person he had arranged to meet.

Investigators also learned from Franklin County investigators that a number of items taken there were sold at an auction house in Bedford County.

A burglary at the South Jackson Civic Center in Tullahoma on Dec. 14 has been attributed to Tomes and Perry by authorities. Both are facing a single burglary charge each for that incident.

Tomes and Perry have also been charged with theft of property for an alleged break-in on Nov. 15 at Tullahoma Jewelry and Loan where a number of handguns were taken. Ostrander was charged with theft of property for possessing and selling one of the stolen guns in this case.