Man drives stolen truck to help recover stolen SUV

By Donna Thornton / Times Staff Writers

Posted at 5:23 AMUpdated at 5:23 AM


Gadsden police recovered two stolen vehicles Wednesday after a Gadsden man allegedly drove a stolen truck to meet a couple so he could help them retrieve their stolen SUV.

A couple contacted police at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, saying a friend told them he’d located their stolen BMW X5, according to Gadsden police reports. The vehicle was reported stolen at about 4:30 a.m. Wednesday from the 600 block of Randall Street, when the owner left it running outside a home while he checked on a friend just released from the hospital

The couple told police the friend would be coming to the 1000 block of Tidmore Bend Road in a red pickup truck, and would lead them to the house where he found the stolen vehicle.

A man pulled up in a red Chevrolet C1500, and they identified him as the friend who’d contacted them. He said a woman had loaned him use of the BMW at about 10 a.m. Wednesday, and he later learned the vehicle belonged to the victim. He said he drove it to another home off Tidmore Bend Road for safekeeping.

The police reported noted several changes in the man’s account of the incident, and they learned of a Etowah County Sheriff’s Office felony warrant against the man, Gabriel Octavian Byrdsong, 38, for trafficking drugs.

Officers convinced the man to get in the back of the patrol car to help them find the residence where he left the BMW. Officers told the couple to wait where they were while officers went to find the SUV.

Officers made contact with the resident at the safekeeping site and got consent to search his property. They found the BMW X5 parked behind a utility/storage building and notified the owners.

The resident said he did not know the vehicle was on his property. He said he was acquainted with Byrdsong — that he last spoke to him Tuesday when he says Byrdsong tried to sell him a red Chevrolet truck. He said Byrdsong didn’t have the title or registration for the truck, so he suspected it might be stolen.

He declined to buy the truck.

Byrdsong was arrested on the existing warrant and taken to City Hall; two officers stayed at the residence until the couple could retrieve the BMW.

While they waited, the officers found an Alabama license plate on the ground beside the BMW. They ran the plate and it was registered to a red Chevrolet C1500 truck, reported stolen in Etowah County.

After the couple reclaimed their BMW, an officer went back to the site where Byrdsong met up with them, where the red Chevrolet truck he drove was parked. He ran the VIN number and found it matched that of the truck reported stolen to the sheriff’s office — the one registered to the tag found by the stolen BMW.

ECSO personnel arrived to take possession of the truck.

Byrdsong was taken to jail on the trafficking warrant, and held pending charges for first-degree receiving stolen property.