A serial Wayne County theft suspect busted himself after he set up a stolen trail camera in a cornfield and captured dozens of images of his face and stolen items, according to the Wayne County Sheriff's Office.
Omar Spencer, 42, was arrested for receiving stolen property and other crimes but released from the Wayne County Jail on Tuesday until formal charges are filed. Following his release, Spencer declined to answer questions from a News 5 crew.
In recent weeks, several thefts have been reported in the Sterling area. Gasoline, tools, an expensive welder, and an ATV were among the stolen items, according to Wayne County Sheriff's Office Captain Doug Hunter.
On Monday deputies found a trailer covered with stolen goods and stashed in a Milton Township field. They also found a motion-activated trail camera.
Investigators uncovered more than 200 still pictures, including many that showed Spencer. In some photos, he was holding a beer can and smoking a cigarette. In other pictures, he was holding suspected stolen gasoline and tubing.
"In this case, the man was using the trail camera to protect his stolen merchandise, not giving any thought to the fact that he himself was going to be on the captured images," Hunter said.
The trail camera actually belongs to Matthew Saal who had multiple items stolen from his farm in recent weeks.
Saal set up two cameras and believes Spencer, a former high school classmate, is responsible for stealing one of the cameras and for various other thefts.
"I'm just speculating, but maybe he was afraid that somebody else was going to steal his stuff and he wanted to protect that. I don't know," Saal said.
Shortly after the trailer was located, word started to spread in the community and Saal responded to the area where deputies had gathered near Shorle and Sterling Roads.
According to Hunter, Spencer was spotted riding a stolen ATV. That led to a chase by deputies, first on a farm utility vehicle and then on foot. Deputies, Saal and one of Saal's friends tackled the suspect.
"The deputy jumped on him and I jumped on him. I didn't want him to get away," Saal said.
Spencer was arrested wearing a t-shirt that read, "This just in...You're an idiot."
Hunter called the case bizarre and said the incriminating pictures will help prosecutors build a case against Spencer. Deputies are trying to get the stolen items back to the rightful owners.
"Oftentimes, criminals think they're much smarter than they actually are and they do not have a plan for when they actually get caught."