Deputies in Tuscaloosa County arrested a 24-year-old from Birmingham this weekend and charged him with a dozen felonies for his alleged role in a string of vehicle break-ins at the Mercedes plant in Vance.

As the Thread reported last week, the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office launched an investigation after a significant number of vehicles were burglarized outside the Mercedes Benz U.S. International plant in Vance last Wednesday.

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The cars and trucks were hit in a quick smash-and-grab between 12 a.m. and 1 a.m. Wednesday, during which thieves opened unlocked doors and shattered windows to search for valuables before moving on to the next vehicle. Several employees reported their windows were broken and nothing was even taken from inside.

TCSO investigators quickly developed suspects in the case, and one was arrested Friday.

That man, 24-year-old Terrance Wuanya Whatley, was charged with 12 separate counts of unlawfully breaking and entering a vehicle, all Class C felonies, and booked in the Tuscaloosa County Jail, where he still remains Tuesday morning. Jail records show his bond has been consolidated and set at $25,000.

A spokesperson for the sheriff's office said the investigation is still ongoing, and other arrests may follow this one.

For updates on this case and for other exclusive crime and courts stories from West Alabama, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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