January 3, 2017

A 36-year-old Jefferson man and his wife are accused of numerous burglaries and thefts in the past year in four counties that apparently funded their methamphetamine habits.

Tyson James Ruth and Joey Ann (Godwin) Ruth were arrested last week after a police informant bought a shotgun from them in Carroll, according to court records. They are felons and cannot legally possess a firearm.

The crime is punishable by up to five years in prison.

Law officers in Carroll, Dallas, Greene and Guthrie counties have been investigating the Ruths for more than a year for burglaries and thefts from buildings and vehicles, court records show.

A police officer attached a tracking device to the Ruths’ minivan in February, and the Ruths discovered the tracker and burned it in September, according to the records.

The two allegedly drove around with two-way radios, hammers, a police dispatch scanner, camouflaged clothing, binoculars and flashlights they used to commit the crimes.

They were arrested in May for stealing hunting equipment in Greene County, and both pleaded guilty to a felony theft charge in December. They are set to be sentenced late this month.

Tyson Ruth received a suspended prison sentence in September in Dallas County for burglary and theft charges, but he is appealing his conviction and attempting to reverse his guilty pleas, which he claims were the result of “medical duress.”

“I was not taking my psychiatric medications, and without those I can’t think clearly,” he wrote to a judge.

Tyson Ruth also wrote that he suffered from a 105-degree fever at the time he pleaded guilty, and that his court-appointed attorney “intimidated me into signing the plea agreement under the threat of immediate incarceration if I did not sign it.”

It’s unclear when the appeal will conclude.

The Ruths are held in the Carroll County jail.

The Carroll police informant went to the Ruths’ house in Jefferson on Dec. 21, where Tyson Ruth said he had three semiautomatic rifles, a pistol and a sawed-off double-barrel shotgun, according to a probation violation report. The Ruths injected methamphetamine into their veins several times that day.

The next day the informant bought the shotgun for $80 in Carroll, and the Ruths loaned him the handgun so they “don’t get in trouble for having them.”