Stolen van recovered in traffic stop

By Dean Wright -

GALLIPOLIS — A North Carolina man was arrested Tuesday evening after law enforcement in West Virginia initiated a traffic stop after examining a license plate reported as a stolen vehicle.

The Mason County Sheriff’s Department ‘s Cpt. C. Stearns used a license plate reader on a white Dodge cargo van with Illinois plates after passing the officer’s cruiser. Law enforcement initiated a traffic stop which would take both vehicles just west of the Ohio and West Virginia border. The stop was then handed over to Ohio State Highway Patrol. The license plate reader registered the vehicle as stolen.

The drier, Lavern Baldwin, 41, of Wagram, N.C., said he knew nothing about the van being reported as stolen. Law enforcement confirmed the vehicle was the same vehicle reporting missing by Scotland County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina. Baldwin was then placed under arrest and taken to Gallia County Jail before the van was searched and towed.

Baldwin is charged with fifth-degree felony receiving stolen property.

Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.

By Dean Wright