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CHPD arrests two employees of same company on unrelated charges

Jeff Bobo • Apr 21, 2018 at 4:30 PM

CHURCH HILL — Police arrested two employees from Frog Properties, 121 Kingsport Press Road, last week on unrelated charges — one for allegedly stealing lumber, and the other for reportedly vandalizing a coworker’s vehicle.

Ralph Aaron Thompson, 34, 2142 Carters Valley Road, Church Hill, was allegedly captured on video surveillance loading large amounts of lumber into his pickup after hours.

Church Hill Police Department Detective Ethan Mays said Lee Matthews of Universal Forest Products and facility manager Alex Clark reported the alleged theft Monday.

“They explained to me that this employee was returning to work after hours and opening a loading bay into the plant, then backing up his truck and loading large amounts of what they described as No. 3 lumber, uncut raw lumber,” Mays said. “I was shown video surveillance of the employee leaving the business with the lumber in his truck. Mr. Clark identified the employee as Ralph Thompson and showing me an inventory list of their lumber advised that (what) he had stolen was valued at $1,100.”

Upon being interviewed Monday, Thompson allegedly stated that the wood he took was scraps that were being discarded and that he had permission to take the wood.

Clark reportedly stated it wasn’t scrap lumber and Thompson didn’t have permission to take it or be in the business after hours.

Thompson was charged with two counts of burglary stemming from incidents that occurred on April 11 and 12 as well as two counts of theft under $500.

In an unrelated case, Mays responded to Frog Properties Tuesday to investigate an incident in which an employee who was fired Monday allegedly punched his fist through a coworker’s car window on his way off the property and punctured all four of the coworker’s tires with a syringe needle.

Dustin Lee Hughes, 30, of Church Hill, was allegedly involved in an altercation Monday with the coworker, which resulted in Hughes being fired.

While Mays was investigating the alleged vehicle vandalism, it was discovered that Hughes was the subject of a theft complaint at a residence where he was staying on Lloyd’s Chapel Road. That incident was being investigated by the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office.

Mays went to the residence, where he found Hughes with several fresh lacerations on his hands. Hughes claimed the injuries occurred in a fall at work, but police allege that they occurred when he punched out the car window.

“When I confronted Mr. Hughes with the surveillance video, he admitted to punching the window of a fellow employee and using a needle to puncture all four of his tires,” Mays said. “Mr. Hughes went on to tell me that he and the victim were involved in a verbal confrontation at work and that Mr. Hughes ended up getting fired over this argument.”

Although the supposed theft victim opted not to prosecute, Hughes was charged with vandalism under $1,000 in connection with the incident at work.

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