News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Reuniting you with your stolen stuff will be a big job. The man who put Operation Smoke Screen into motion says it was the most complicated bust he has ever been a part of.
Cpt. Scott Peebles is also apologizing for something he says went wrong and announcing something he thinks is the right move for him in the future.
"You see him all the time on News 12," said Fattz of 96.3 KISS FM. "He [Chris Thomas] is now coming to morning radio with The Inside Story."
Our first guest was the sheriff's right-hand man.
"I would also like to thank Cpt. Scott Peebles who initiated this undercover operation and worked it day in and day out," said Sheriff Ronnie Strength at the Operation Smoke Screen news conference.
Peebles is now forced to respond after a viewer told News 12 her home was raided in error.
"I know that was very scary for her and her family," Peebles said. "We just want to say we are sorry from the bottom of our heart for that."
Phiniezy says she moved into her house with her three kids last September, but there wasn't much room for explanation. Agents identified her husband and searched her home. Captain Peebles says it is unfortunate.
"That was the last known address that we had for that so when we went to the house we went knowing that he may or may not be there," said Peebles. "It's an unfortunate reality that when you run things like this that sometimes you are going to go to places where your suspects don't live anymore."
But the results are overwhelming. Hundreds of stolen guns and property was recovered.
"Actually I had a laptop that was stolen," Fattz said. "They broke in my truck and took the laptop."
"We might have it," replied Captain Peebles with a smile. "And there are some pictures we want to ask you about."
All jokes aside, eight rooms are filled with $500,000 in property that now can be returned.
"So be patient with us," Peebles said. "Because this is the most complicated thing we have ever done."
That's the inside story. Peebles is writing another story of his own.
"If and when Sheriff Strength retires, it is more likely than not you will see me become a candidate for that office," he said.
Meanwhile, you can call (706) 821-1020 if you think your items are in one of those rooms.
This story is part of new segment called The Inside Story with News 12's Chris Thomas. You can tune in every Wednesday morning from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. on 96.3 Kiss FM with Fattz and Cher in the Morning.