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A Willow Springs man wanted in connection with the alleged theft of a vehicle, firearms and a debit card on the First of this month has been arrested after the owner of a stolen pickup truck reportedly spotted the vehicle in West Plains.

Ryan Dale Pettitt, 24, is charged with stealing a motor vehicle, forgery, stealing unidentified property and possession of a controlled substance.

Pettitt was taken into custody at 9:43 p.m. Thursday at Casey’s on Gibson Avenue. He is held on $22,500 bail for three separate cases, according to court documents.

West Plains Police Officer Justin Brown reported he was dispatched to the area of First Street and Porter Wagoner Boulevard after owner of the truck, a Ford F-150, saw it parked at the Conoco gas station.

Before he could get to the location, Brown was informed by a dispatcher that the truck was stopped at the traffic light on Porter Wagoner Boulevard and Gibson Avenue. Brown reported he had seen the truck pass his vehicle on Porter Wagoner Boulevard, so he turned to head toward Gibson Avenue and dispatch reported that the truck had pulled into Casey’s.

After catching up to the vehicle, the officer ordered Pettitt out of the truck. A search of the vehicle allegedly turned up a baggie of methamphetamine and a white cardboard box containing a check belonging to another man written to Pettitt in the amount of $182.50, which Pettitt allegedly admitted forging.       

Pettitt already had active warrants on a charge of probation violation on a conviction of first-degree tampering with a motor vehicle and escape or attempted escape from custody while under arrest for a felony and charges of stealing a motor vehicle, stealing $750 or more, stealing unidentified property and three counts of stealing a firearm.

On Feb. 1 Willow Springs Police Sgt. Mike Huffman reported he investigated the alleged theft of a 2015 Chevrolet Colorado, a wallet and a rifle and pistol, all belonging to the same person. Brittany Lynn Williams, 26, also of Willow Springs, was charged with the same crimes related to the incident.  

Williams has yet to be arrested on the charges and her bond is set at $10,000, according to court records.

The two were allegedly in the stolen vehicle when Howell County deputies stopped the pickup truck. Several items were allegedly thrown from it, deputies observed, including a pistol reported stolen by the truck’s owner.

Another handgun, a revolver not reported stolen by the victim, was recovered, along with a debit card belonging to the victim’s wife, allegedly used by Pettitt and Williams to make a purchase at the West Plains Walmart. The second firearm reported stolen by the victim, a Ruger American .223-caliber bolt-action rifle, was not recovered.

Pettitt pleaded guilty in December 2019 to first-degree tampering with a motor vehicle and escape or attempted escape from custody while under arrest for a felony related to a July 26 incident during which Pettitt, while being taken into custody by a state trooper on eight active misdemeanor warrants and driving a stolen vehicle, fled into the woods while the trooper was removing Pettitt’s personal property from the vehicle.

Charges on those warrants included failure to appear on charges of possession of narcotic equipment, failure to register a motor vehicle and other traffic violations and county charges of failure to appear on traffic charges.

Pettitt entered his plea on Dec. 5 and was handed a four-year suspended execution of sentence and five years of supervised probation. Court records show a warrant was issued for Pettitt Jan. 28 for probation violation after he failed to appear in court Jan. 6.

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