A Fort Payne man has been charged with allegedly stealing air conditioning units from a preschool in Henagar.

DeKalb County Sheriff Nick Welden said the alleged theft occurred around 3 a.m. on Aug. 21. Welden said the units were taken from Busy Beas Preschool, located on Highway 75 in Henagar.

Charles Ray Ledon Wilbanks, 39 of Fort Payne, was arrested on a warrant for theft of property first degree. Welden said Wilbanks is also a suspect in another theft at Desoto State Park.

Investigators with Henagar Police Department and the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case. Welden said witnesses gave a description of a suspect and vehicle that was in the area at the time of both thefts.

“Investigators learned that suspect and vehicle matching the descriptions was pulled over by Sylvania police in the area,” said Welden. “The suspect currently lives in Rome, Georgia, and after checking with several scrap yards in the area, it was discovered he had sold a large number of air conditioning components recently.”

Welden said after a warrant was obtained for Wilbanks’ arrest, a scrap yard notified investigators that the suspect had arrived to sell more air conditioning parts. The Rome Police Department was notified and made the arrest.

Wilbanks’ wife, Wendy Wilbanks, 42 of Fort Payne, was also arrested on an outstanding felony warrant in DeKalb County for failure to comply.

Both are currently in the Floyd County Jail, awaiting extradition to the DeKalb County Detention Center.

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