MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - A man accused in connection with an alleged child sex ring in Baldwin County is in jail in Mobile County on a burglary charge.
The child sex ring investigation has attracted national attention. It involves several family members of missing mother Brittney Wood. who disappeared in May 2012.
William Brownlee is a family friend charged with sex abuse and sodomy in the case.
Brownlee may have been keeping a low profile until he was arrested in Bayou La Batre Friday, October 4 in what police call a bold crime.
The owners and police are trying to determine
how much metal was stolen from a vacant ice house on Shell Belt Road in Bayou La Batre.
Three men are charged with the crime, including 40-year-old William Brownlee.
Corporal Mike Goodin said it was obvious Brownlee was already in trouble with the law when he was arrested Friday.
"He had an angle bracelet and said he was on house arrest from Baldwin County," Goodin said.
Brownlee is awaiting trial for sex abuse and sodomy in an elaborate child sex ring investigation.
So what was he doing at the ice house?
Police said the suspects were loading a trailer with metal from the building. Brownlee told police he had permission from the owner.
"Patrol officers then called the registered owner of the property and he said he had no idea anybody was going to be on the property. Mr. Brownlee then changed his story to state that he was just trying to clean the place up," Goodin explained.
However, police said it looked more like the trio was cleaning the place out..
The suspects weren't trying to hide. They had a truck and trailer backed up to the door and they had been at it for at least a week.
"According to Mr. Brownlee he had actually been there all week scrapping items from inside the building and taking them to a recycling center," Goodin said.
Police have identified the other two suspects as 49-year-old Michael Hanson and 75-year-old Alex Balkcom. Both men are from Irvington.
Balkcom is free on bond. Both Hanson and Brownlee are still locked up.
The trial for Giuseppe Pino LoPorto continues today in Baldwin County. LoPorto, now 80-years-old, faces several sex abuse charges against a child dating back to the early 90s.
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