A 35-year-old Salt Springs man was arrested by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office after a male victim accused him of stealing nine chainsaws from a locked shed.
On Sunday, May 22, an MCSO deputy responded to a residence on NE 132nd Street in Salt Springs in reference to a burglary. Upon arrival, the deputy made contact with the male victim who stated that his chainsaws were stolen by Brian Paul Morris.
The victim informed the deputy that he was incarcerated earlier this year, and he stated that the theft may have occurred between February and March. The MCSO report indicated that the following chainsaws were missing: three Husqvarna chainsaws ($400/each), one Stihl chainsaw ($600), two additional Stihl chainsaws ($330/each), a Homelite chainsaw ($230), an Echo chainsaw ($130), and a Poulan Pro chainsaw ($350).
The victim stated that the chainsaws had been taken from a locked shed that was located behind his residence. One of the victim’s missing chainsaws had been returned by a friend who had purchased it from Morris.
On Friday, May 27, an MCSO detective was assigned to the case. The detective made contact with the victim’s friend who had returned the chainsaw, and an interview was conducted. The friend stated that in December of 2021, he had been warned by the victim’s ex-girlfriend to be on the lookout for some of the victim’s belongings that were missing.
The victim’s ex-girlfriend was living at the victim’s residence at the time of the theft, and she told MCSO investigators that she did not give anyone permission to take the victim’s tools or chainsaws.
On December 15, 2021, the victim’s friend stated that he received a Facebook message from Morris asking if he knew anyone who was interested in purchasing a stolen orange Husqvarna chainsaw for $200. The victim’s friend told the detective that he “just knew” that the stolen chainsaw belonged to the victim, and he purchased it for $90 so he could return it to the victim.
The detective observed the Facebook messages between the victim’s friend and Morris regarding the chainsaw.
On Tuesday, May 31, the detective went to Marion County Jail due to the victim being arrested on unrelated charges. During an interview with the detective, the victim stated that the theft of his chainsaw, along with the miscellaneous other items, must have occurred while he was in jail in December of 2021.
The victim told the detective that when his friend returned the chainsaw, he knew it was his due to the clutch being worn down from several years of use. The detective visited the victim’s residence and observed the chainsaw. Upon trying to start it, the detective noted in the MCSO report that the clutch was worn down just as the victim had described.
Morris was arrested on Thursday, June 9, and he was transported to Marion County Jail where he is currently being held on $8,000 bond. He is facing felony charges for unarmed burglary of an unoccupied structure, dealing in stolen property, and first-degree petit theft.
A court date has not been scheduled yet, according to jail records.