Hawkins man accused of stealing truck minutes after being released from jail

Jeff Bobo • Nov 14, 2012 at 10:08 AM

ROGERSVILLE — It’s been a busy week for 54-year-old James Harold Widner, who was arrested three out of four days including Wednesday, when he allegedly stole a pickup in Rogersville minutes after being released from the Hawkins County Jail.

Hawkins County deputies were dispatched to Widner’s home at 2030 Walter Drive, Bulls Gap, on Sunday around 5:19 a.m. when Widner’s wife, Ronema Widener, accused him of stealing her pills.

Responding Deputy Kenny Lunsford Jr. stated in his report that Mr. Widner gave permission to search his belongings, including an Oxycodone pill bottle labeled as belonging to Mr. Widner. That bottle allegedly contained Alprazolam pills prescribed to Mrs. Widner.

Lunsford also observed two shotguns and a rifle in plain view in the residence. Mr. Widner allegedly admitted that the .22 caliber rifle belonged to him.

Mr. Widner is a felon due to a 1986 armed robbery conviction in Kentucky.

He was charged Sunday with simple possession of Schedule IV narcotics, violation of the Tennessee Drug Control Act, theft and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

On Monday morning, Widner was bailed out of the Hawkins County Jail by his wife, who had also obtained an order of protection against him.

On Tuesday evening around 5:30 p.m., deputies responded back to 2030 Walter Drive, where Mrs. Widner stated she had come home from being gone all day and found the dryer hose had been taken loose from the dryer and pencil shavings were poured in the kitchen floor.

She stated she suspected her husband, who was not supposed to come back to the residence, but allegedly had called her earlier and said he was there.

HCSO Deputy Stacy Vaughan came into contact with Mr. Widner around 7 p.m. at the Hawkins County Memorial Hospital in Rogersville, where Mr. Widner requested a ride home. Vaughan said he couldn’t take Mr. Widner home due to the order of protection, and Vaughan transported Mr. Widner to a residence on Park Boulevard in Rogersville.

At 9:30 p.m., Vaughan was dispatched back to the Widner residence, where Mrs. Widner claimed her husband was trying to gain entry to the residence.

Upon his arrival, Vaughan found Mr. Widner sitting on a neighbor’s porch. Mr. Widner allegedly admitted he had gone home looking for a place to stay for the night. He was arrested for violation of order of protection and spent the night in jail.

Immediately after being released from jail, Mr. Widner walked across Highway 11-W at the Park Boulevard intersection, went to the nearby Eastgate Shopping Center, and allegedly stole a pickup that was parked in front of the Auto Zone store.

Shortly before 12:40 p.m. Wednesday, HCSO Deputy Don Mitchell was dispatched to a suspicious pickup parked off Walter Drive in Bulls Gap near Widner’s residence.

Upon his arrival, Mitchell allegedly observed Mr. Widner in a pickup that was hung up on a telephone pole guide-wire.

Mitchell said Mr. Widner appeared to be intoxicated on prescription medication.

Mr. Widner was charged with possession of stolen property, DUI and driving on a revoked license.

Charges are also pending against Mr. Widner for the actual theft of the pickup by the Rogersville Police Department.

As of Wednesday evening, Mr. Widner was being held in the Hawkins County Jail without bond.

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