By Richard L. Gaw
In an investigation that began last December, two local police departments have combined to bring to justice a Delaware man who has been accused of a series of thefts in southern Chester County.
On May 2, 22-year-old Brandon Jeremy Jennings of New Castle, De., turned himself into the New Garden Police Department, confessing to his participation in a four-month crime spree that involved the theft of storm grates and other metal throughout New Garden and Kennett townships. Jennings' older brother Christopher, 25, is also being accused of these thefts, but has not yet been located. The younger Jennings told police that the crimes were committed to support a drug addiction.
The Jennings brothers are accused of two counts of theft by unlawful taking; two counts of receiving stolen property; and two counts of conspiracy. Both have been been summoned to the Magisterial District Court.
Records of the crime spree date back to Dec. 27, when the New Garden Township Police Department received a theft report from a resident of the Harrogate South development in Landenberg, who reported that two storm gates had been stolen from the resident's home. Upon further investigation, the police discovered that two additional grates were missing from a Harrogate North subdivision. The total value of the four storm grates was estimated to be in excess of $1,300.
On Jan. 3, the New Garden Police Department received a theft report from the New Garden Public Works Department that 8 storm grates had been taken from the Brittany Hills and Harrogate South developments, estimated to be in excess of $2,600. Throughout the remainder of the winter, the New Garden Police Department was made aware of similar thefts taking place throughout Chester and Delaware counties.
In March, Chief Albert McCarthy of the Kennett Township Police Department began investigation of these thefts, based on information from a scrap yard in New Castle County. His investigation involved obtaining photographic evidence of the stolen property, which led to identifying the suspects' vehicle, and eventually to the Jennings brothers.