In August 2018, Manchester Police responded to Tri-Green Equipment on Interstate Drive, in regards to a burglary to their business. It was reported that one of their trucks had been used to break through the gate and used to move a barricade. It was also determined that a John Deere Gator, Zero Turn Mower and an 18’ Lawrimore trailer was stolen.
In November of 2018, Manchester Police Department Investigators learned that similar thefts had happened in Murfreesboro, TN. Manchester Police and Murfreesboro Police worked together to identify suspect(s) that were responsible for crimes in both jurisdictions. As the investigation continued, and it became obvious that crimes were committed throughout the Southeast and Eastern United States. Both agencies teamed up with the FBI to continue the investigation.
Investigators followed leads which led them to two suspects, Donald White and Miranda Skye Jones from McMinnville, TN. During extensive interviews with the Manchester Police Department and the FBI, the case grew into a multi-state, million dollar theft ring involving Christopher Daniel Gay – AKA Little Houdini (Leader of Theft-Ring). Donald White and Miranda Skye Jones were determined to be acting as accomplices. The three conspired and carried out a multi-state theft ring, stealing approximately $1.7 million dollars’ worth of property. The property stolen included: Class A Motorhomes, car haulers, heavy equipment, travel trailers, lawn care equipment, vehicles and tools. It was reported that Gay would wear a police shirt and an exposed firearm while canvasing heavy equipment dealerships, gaining his own intelligence. Gay would then use the intelligence gained and return to commit his crimes. The involved individuals sold the stolen equipment using social media pages including Facebook and Craigslist.
All 3 suspects entered guilty pleas in Federal Court on charges of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud and Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property. Gay was sentenced to 84 months in Federal Prison, to run consecutive to other State Felonies. White was sentenced to 74 months and Jones was sentenced to 36 months. Both were ordered to pay restitution to the victims. Gay has an extensive criminal history and received his nickname after numerous escapes from jails/guards. He is most known after a 2007 escape and theft of country music singer Crystal Gayle’s tour bus in Nashville, TN.
All involved agencies worked tirelessly throughout this investigation. Manchester Police is grateful for the time and work that was dedicated to this case by the FBI and the Murfreesboro Police Department. A majority of the property was able to be recovered and returned to the victims.