THOMASVILLE — The owner of a Thomasville tree service was informed early Monday morning that a bucket truck belonging to his business had been seen in Leesburg a short time before.

"The caller saw it," said Capt. Tim Watkins, Thomas County Sheriff's Office chief investigator.

The owner had last seen the truck Sunday at a U.S. 19 parking lot where he had parked it.

Meanwhile, Leesburg police located the truck and driver in a parking lot at a Leesburg business.

"We asked them to detain the driver, and the owner would pick up the truck," Watkins said.

The suspect, David Edison Allen, 53, told Thomas County authorities he was homeless in Leesburg.

"He told Leesburg police the owner knew him and loaned him the truck," Watkins said.

After being transported to Thomasville, Allen told a sheriff's office investigator he took the truck to prevent a friend from stealing it, the chief investigator said.

The truck — valued at $50,000 — was unlocked, said Watkins, adding that the suspect previously worked for the tree service and knew where keys were hidden in the vehicle.

Allen was released from the Thomas County Jail on his own recognizance.

Watkins said that before Allen became homeless in Leesburg, he lived off Dillon Road in Thomas County. 

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