Man who allegedly took truck belonging to Sen. Bill Hamilton arrested Monday

BUCKHANNON – A Buckhannon man was arrested Monday after allegedly breaking into a mobile home that belonged to Sen. Bill Hamilton’s late sister in December 2018.

Justin D. White, 37, of Buckhannon was arrested Monday, July 1, for nighttime burglary, a felony.

According to the criminal complaint in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s Office filed by investigating officer Cpl. Theron Caynor with the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department, someone broke into a residence at 1106 Jack Hill Road in Excelsior on or about Dec. 4, 2018.

When the owner, Hamilton, arrived at the residence, he found one of the garage doors damaged and a broken window in the main residence. According to the report, a 1989 Ford-250 was taken from the garage with an approximate value of $4,000. In addition, multiple drawers and cabinets had been rifled though and jewelry boxes and other items had been taken.

Caynor responded along with Cpl. Rocky Hebb and Cpl. Rodney Rolenson, also with the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department.

They checked the residence and took fingerprints from the broken window and the kitchen window. A print was recovered and sent to the West Virginia State Police Forensic Laboratory, which returned a report that the print belonged to Justin White. The report says the stolen truck was recovered on Dec. 21, 2018.

The vehicle was red and white when it was taken but had been spray-painted black prior to it being recovered. On June 5, 2019, Rebecca Young gave a statement that White allegedly was in possession of the truck and had been driving it, claiming he had driven her to Buckhannon in it once, according to the complaint. She stated White had parked at her house for a few days before it was moved.

Caynor showed her a photograph of the stolen vehicle, and she identified it as the vehicle White had and was driving.

Hamilton on Tuesday said he’d heard an arrest had been made in the case.

The senator said a great deal of sentimental value is attached to the truck because he’d received it as a gift from his aunt and uncle.

“It’s taken me about $1,500 to get the vehicle back on the road, and after it was given to me about three years ago, I had put about $3,000 worth of work into it,” he said.

When the vehicle was found, the windshield was busted, the hub caps were missing and the hub was damaged, Hamilton said. In addition, a heater the senator had stored in the vehicle to use while hunting was gone, as well as a Catholic figurine belonging to his aunt and uncle. The title to the truck was also missing.

Hamilton said the incident happened three months after his sister, Winnie Hoover, passed away at the end of August, which was also difficult.

“A lot of her items, mostly jewelry, was taken too, and that hasn’t been recovered,” he said.

Hamilton said he and his wife, Sue, found a technique for removing the black spray paint from the vehicle, which has mostly restored the truck to its original appearance. He shared photos with My Buckhannon, which appear below.

Hamilton’s truck before it was stolen.
The Ford truck when it was recovered by police.
Hamilton working to remove the black spray paint from the vehicle.

“I want to thank Tanner Collins, who recovered it in the southern part of the county, and also the investigating officer, Theron Caynor, who put a lot of work into this investigation,” Hamilton said. “I’m glad the person was arrested, but I would like to see a conviction and get the money I’ve spent on this back.”

Magistrate Kay Hurst set bail at $50,000 cash.

If convicted, White faces confinement in the state penitentiary for not less than one nor more than 15 years for nighttime burglary.

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