Tony Chester McNally, 40, who had been staying at the motel in Rogersville, was charged Wednesday morning with one count of robbery and has since been released on bond from the Hawkins County Jail.
McNally’s girlfriend and alleged getaway driver was interviewed but has not yet been charged.
Surgoinsville Police Chief Jeff Hesoun said Wednesday that off-duty Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Don Mitchell played a key role in the arrest. Hesoun said that Mitchell heard the initial report of the robbery over the police radio and was in the area, so he began searching for the vehicle.
“He actually spotted what he believed to be the vehicle, which turned out to be right,” Hesoun said. “In his personal vehicle he followed this suspect vehicle and coordinated a stop with the Rogersville Police Department, and they were able to identify the persons in the car.”
Rolled coins had been taken in the robbery, but those coins were not found when the vehicle was searched during the traffic stop.
Mitchell had observed the suspect vehicle make two stops at private residences prior to the RPD traffic stop. Hesoun said it’s suspected that McNally disposed of the proceeds from the robbery at one of those residences.
Hesoun later showed a photo lineup to the store clerk, and McNally was allegedly identified as the robber. It’s not been decided yet if McNally’s female driver will be charged.
“The driver is cooperating along with other people, and in my mind I’m not sure yet if the driver was actually aware what his intentions in the store were going to be,” Hesoun said.
McNally is accused of going behind the counter and snatching a box of rolled up coins before fleeing the store.
Hesoun added it’s unlikely that the stolen coins will be recovered. Hesoun said he has written a letter of thanks to Hawkins County Sheriff Roger Christian for Mitchell’s assistance in the investigation.