Boat Bait?

Sting Leads To Theft Charges For Couple

Posted: February 21, 2013

For the past five years, the television series “Bait Car” has depicted police stings in which car thieves are caught red-handed in so-called “bait cars” rigged with cameras and other recording devices.


Locally, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries opted for “bait boat,” which recently nabbed two members of the Crawford family — a well-known Elkton clan that operated a multimillion-dollar methamphetamine distribution ring in the town for years.


Many of the drug deals took place in the family’s store, O’Dell’s Grocery.


On Aug. 8, sources say, game and fisheries agents set up a decoy boat along Spotswood Trail near Rocky Bar Road near Elkton.


The boat contained an expensive generator.


While the boat was set up on the shoulder of the roadway, Darrell Crawford, 47, and his wife, Melissa Crawford, 48, stole the generator, police say.


The generator had a GPS tracking device placed on it, police say, which led them to the Crawfords’ home on Barbershop Lane in Elkton.


On Tuesday, the couple was indicted by a Rockingham County grand jury on a felony grand larceny charge.


As of Wednesday, Darrell Crawford — who could face federal prison time for violating probation — and his wife remained at large.


In 2007, several members of the Crawford family were indicted on multiple federal drug charges, and were either convicted or pleaded guilty the following year.


Darrell Crawford pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to distribute meth and was sentenced to five years and eight months in prison. But he received credit for about four years he had already served, leaving him with a sentence of about one year.


Released from prison in May 2010, he also received four years of subsequent supervised release.


His father, Vern O’Dell Crawford, received a 30-year prison term after being convicted of distributing drugs.


Darrell Crawford’s mother, Joyce Crawford, pleaded guilty to money laundering and was sentenced to time served.


His brother, Kenneth Crawford, pleaded guilty to money laundering and was sentenced to five years in prison.


Melissa Crawford pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy to distribute meth. She was sentenced to a 13-month prison term with four years of supervised probation.


It’s unclear if she remains on probation.


Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or

NDN Video News