Two midstate judges have had their vehicles stolen since Monday, and the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office is investigating whether the thefts are related.
Monday afternoon, Houston County State Court Judge Jason Ashford’s wife, Tina Ashford, had just finished teaching class at Middle Georgia State University when she realized their 2002 white Ford Expedition wasn’t where she’d parked it.
The car was reportedly stolen some time between 8 a.m-2 p.m. and Ashford said it was locked.
The only things of value in the car were the judge’s tennis rackets, he said.
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Early morning Tuesday, there was a knock at the door of Bibb County Superior Court Judge Tilman Self’s house.
A Bibb County sheriff’s deputy asked Self, who was recently tapped for the Georgia Court of Appeals, if he knew where his white 2013 Ford F-150 XLT pickup was.
Self said it should be in the driveway, but it wasn’t.
His wife’s 2015 Toyota Sequoia and a 2016 Dodge Journey rental van from Enterprise also were taken from his driveway off Zebulon Road, according to a deputy sheriff’s report.
Self said he got home at 11:30 p.m. Monday and didn’t know when the vehicles were taken.
“They wrecked mine and it is likely totalled,” Self wrote in an emailed response to the Telegraph. “They just found Amy’s car. The third is on the loose.”
Bibb County sheriff’s Lt. Randy Gonzalez said Self’s white pickup was involved in a hit-and-run accident on the west side of the county that morning, which led deputies to Self’s home.
The Selfs also are missing a pistol, cases of ammunition, several hunting knives, a deer stand, two iPads, a Dell computer and some other personal items that were in the vehicles, according to the report.
The stolen goods were valued at more than $5,000.
Tuesday afternoon, Ashford learned that his Expedition had been found on Powers Plantation, not far from the Self’s house. He didn’t know what kind of shape it was in.
“I’m just hoping it’s not a burned-out wreck,” Ashford said.
Investigators are working to determine if Ashford’s car was used in the auto thefts at Self’s home.
“Honestly, I can’t imagine it being a judge thing,” Ashford said. “Why would they target just judges? That wouldn’t make any sense. I don’t know. It’s a strange coincidence, but there aren’t any other judges claiming their cars were stolen yesterday, are there?”
Ashford said he hadn’t received any recent threats or anything, “so there’s nothing that leads me to believe that there’s any kind of theme.”