A suspect in the audacious theft a modular home from a city business on the morning Oct. 3 has been arrested and the home recovered, according to Lt. Todd Miller of the Harrisonburg Police Department.
Stephen Rusiecki, 61, originally of Michigan, was arrested in the town of Amherst on Saturday without incident, according to Miller and a Sunday night press release from HPD. He is being held on outstanding charges, the release says, and charges from HPD are pending.
Additional charges from other jurisdictions are likely, the release says. According to Vinelink, an online statewide database of criminal offenders, Rusiecki is being held at Blue Ridge Regional Jail in Amherst.
The home was found on “a remote piece of property” in Halifax County after another property owner in the county saw it, according to the HPD release.
On the property, law enforcement found other stolen items, including a skid loader from Charlottesville, according to Miller. The owner of the property where the stolen items were found is not believed to be involved in the thefts, according to the release.
When Rusiecki was arrested, he was in possession of a stolen excavator from Maryland and was driving the white pickup caught in the surveillance video of the modular home theft in Harrisonburg from nearly a week prior, according to the press release.
Law enforcement officers from across the state, including HPD, Amherst Town Police Department and the sheriff’s offices of Amherst, Campbell, Pittsylvania and Halifax counties, contributed to the arrest of the suspect and recovery of the modular home and other stolen items, according to Miller.
“We were able to put some pieces together and really figure out what they were experiencing down there was related to our modular home theft,” Miller said Sunday evening.
He said tips from the public helped law enforcement with the investigation.
A tipster told law enforcement they saw the stolen modular home traveling on Va. 501 on Oct. 3 south of Lynchburg in Gladys, Campbell County, according to the press release.
Homeowners also contacted law enforcement about damaged mailboxes along narrow roads in Pittsylvania County, next to Campbell County, after media outlets alerted the public about the theft at the request of law enforcement, according to the release
Police concluded the mailboxes were likely damaged by the stolen modular home as it was being towed.
“We’re very pleased we were able to locate, one, stolen property, and can give it back to Clayton Homes, and then also locate the offender and make an arrest,” Miller said.
Miller said Rusiecki was wanted by multiple jurisdictions across Virginia, Maryland and Michigan.
HPD is looking at state code to see what charges are most applicable for the theft of the modular home, according to Miller.
“I feel extremely confident we will be obtaining a criminal charge on our suspect later this week,” he said.
The recovered 14-by-60-foot, clay-colored vinyl modular was stolen off the Clayton Homes lot early on Oct. 3 by a person driving a white four-door Dodge Ram 3500 or 4500 flatbed truck with amber running lights, according to HPD.
Management at Clayton Homes in Harrisonburg declined to comment or provide the value of the stolen home Thursday afternoon.
Law enforcement has asked witnesses or anyone with any more information about the theft to contact detective Mike Spiggle of HPD’s Major Crimes Unit at 540-437-2617 or by email at Michael.Spiggle@Harrisonburgva.gov.
Anonymous tips can be sent to 540-574-5050 or by texting “HPD” to CRIMES (274637).