Man allegedly steals trailer, chased through Kingsport streets by victim

Rain Smith • Aug 20, 2010 at 11:54 AM

A Kingsport man has been arrested after allegedly stealing a utility trailer, then leading the victim on a vehicle chase with the item in tow.

The trailer was recovered when the suspect dumped it in a Kingsport parking lot, then asked the victim not to call police.

On Thursday Joseph Matthew Swayze, 30, of 145 W. Sevier Ave., was arrested and charged with theft of more than $1,000. An affidavit filed in Sullivan County court says the alleged theft occurred on May 27.

At 3:30 p.m. a man called Kingsport police, reporting he spotted a Dodge pickup truck on West Stone Drive towing his utility trailer. Near Lynn Garden Drive the caller began following the truck, but lost sight of it when the suspect, "began driving in a dangerous and erratic manner."

A little while later the victim allegedly caught up with the truck at the Gibson Mill Road and Watauga Street roundabout — but the utility trailer was no longer in tow. The affidavit says he, "managed to block the truck in," and spoke with the driver.

The man allegedly asked the victim not to call police, adding the trailer had been left in a nearby parking lot. The affidavit says the suspect then, "drove through the roundabout" to escape.

Kingsport police recovered the trailer, with the victim obtaining a tag number from the pickup truck. Police assembled a photo lineup of suspects and the victim positively identified Swayze.

A warrant was obtained, with Swayze being arrested for theft of more than $1,000 on Thursday. He was apprehended by a Sullivan County deputy and booked into the Sullivan County jail.

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