JONESVILLE — “It doesn’t pay to apply for welfare while driving a Hummer,” declared Lee County Sheriff Gary Parsons after his officers charged a Tennessee man with possession of stolen property after he drove the expensive vehicle to the local department of social services.
Parsons said William K. Anderson, 51, 501 Forrestal Drive, Knoxville, is being held without bond at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail and may be charged with other crimes in another jurisdiction in relation to the stolen vehicle.
According to the sheriff, an observant person noticed the man arrive at the Lee County Department of Social Services on Friday in the 2004 H2 Hummer, bearing Michigan license plates, and attempt to obtain welfare benefits. Thinking something just wasn’t quite right, the person took down the license number of the vehicle and reported the information to the sheriff’s office.
“We thought it was unusual that a high-dollar vehicle with out-of-state tags would be at the department of social services too, so we ran the tag and found out that it was stolen,” said Parsons.
The sheriff said his officers were notified to be on the lookout for the vehicle, and it was soon located in the parking lot of Wal-Mart in Ben Hur. Officers set up a surveillance on the vehicle and waited until someone came out of the store, entered the vehicle and drove away. Officers then initiated a stop and charged the driver, Anderson, with possession of stolen property.
Parsons said the owners had recently moved to the Nashville area and had taken a trip to Knoxville for a Hannah Montana concert. While in Knoxville, the owners were visiting friends when the Hummer was stolen on Feb. 2 from the driveway of the friends’ home.
Anderson was arraigned Monday in Lee County General District Court, and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for Feb. 27 at 10:30 a.m.