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Police say theft suspect reneged on promise to return trailer

Jeff Bobo • Feb 19, 2009 at 12:00 AM

SURGOINSVILLE — Scott Michael Morton allegedly admitted that he and a buddy stole a 16-foot trailer from a Surgoinsville business last month because he was “drunk at the time” but told the owner he would return the trailer.

That conversation allegedly took place Jan. 16, and as of this week the trailer still hasn’t been returned.

As a result, Morton, 36, 298 Union Hollow Road, Surgoinsville, and his alleged accomplice Alfred Lynn Willis, 55, 424 Amis Chapel Road, Surgoinsville, were charged Wednesday with one count each of theft over $1,000.

Surgoinsville Police Chief Jeff Hesoun said the trailer belonging to Gregory “Pat” Rakes was stolen from Chance Used Oil on Forest View Drive on Jan. 11.

A witness observed a green Dodge pickup with chrome wheels and a loud diesel motor hook up to the trailer at Rakes’ residence and drive away with it.

“The vehicle and driver (are) known to frequent ‘Rick and Dot’s Market,’ which is located in view of (the victim’s home/business),” Hesoun said. “The victim learned from the owner of Rick and Dot’s that the Dodge truck belongs to the defendant (Morton) and was able to obtain the tag number of the truck and phone number for the defendant. On Jan. 16 the victim spoke to the defendant who he previously did not know.

“(Morton) admitted to the victim he did, in fact, steal the trailer, but said he was drunk at the time and would return the trailer within the hour.”

The arrest warrant was issued Jan. 20 but wasn’t served until Wednesday. Rakes reportedly made several unsuccessful attempts to contact Morton about returning the trailer prior to the arrests.

During his conversation with Rakes, Morton allegedly admitted that Willis helped him steal the trailer. Following his arrest, Willis gave police a statement that it was Morton’s idea to steal the trailer, and they’d hidden it beside a barn on Gravely Valley Road prior to selling it for $600.

The value of the trailer was set at $2,500.

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