Repentant Thieves Return Motorcycles

Lebanon, IN — It’s not often authorities witness stolen property returned to the rightful owners by the people who took it. But that’s exactly what happened to victim Jesse Batcher, according to court documents.

Boone County Sheriff’s Office Det. Scott Pell said in the probable cause affidavit that after the theft of two motorcycles from the Batcher property on June 4, there were no viable leads until the night of Sept. 14. Following that night, two arrests were made.

Elijah Pemberton, 22, faces one count of theft, a level 6 felony; and Bryceton Fortner, 18, faces charges of burglary, a level 5 felony, and theft, a level 6 felony, in conjunction with the incident. Both men are from Lebanon.

The charges stem from the theft of two motorcycles, valued at a total of $8,800. During an interview with Pell, Fortner said the pair was out driving and drinking beer when they decided to enter the Batchers’ property and take two motorcycles. Pemberton told Det. Pell during his interview, the pair decided “on the spur of the moment” to steal the motorcycles.

Court documents said the men allegedly stole one motorcycle, and took it to Pemberton’s residence before returning for the second.

Fortner told the detective they “became scared from what they’d done and wanted to return the motorcycles but feared getting in trouble.” Fortner went on to say the pair stored the motorcycles in a storage unit in Carmel before Pemberton took them back to the Batcher residence on Sept. 14.

Pemberton went on to tell Det. Pell the theft “weighed heavy on his mind” and “he knew he had to take them back.” He told Det. Pell that Fortner would have gone with him to return the motorcycles had he not “been working in the field.”