Ellen Price told the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office that on March 23 she was sitting in a back room of her home on Bailey Johnson Road taking her dialysis treatment when she heard someone knock on the door and then force their way in.
Price reported that two people entered the residence. She identified one as her niece, Jennifer Renee Smith, 27. The other was identified as Joseph Michael Cooper, 23, both of 415 Webster Valley Road, Rogersville.
Price reportedly didn’t realize a burglary had taken place until her father, the homeowner, got home later and found items missing.
Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office Detective Daniel Byington stated in his report, “Ms. Smith sat with her (Price) while Mr. Cooper retrieved a screwdriver from the residence. Ms. Price stated that Ms. Smith sat with her to keep her from going outside to see what Mr. Cooper was doing.”
The home belongs to Smith’s grandfather, Bob Haynes, who reported to the HCSO that his outbuilding and vehicle had been burgled and several items taken.
Byington said that after Haynes realized who was allegedly responsible for the burglary and theft he called Smith and told her to bring the stolen items back. Later the night of the burglary, Cooper allegedly brought several items back, including various tools, and left the items in the driveway.
But, on March 27, Cooper allegedly sold a Pioneer speaker stolen from the Haynes house to the Trading Post pawn shop in Rogersville. During that sale, Cooper allegedly gave the Trading Post his name and address.
Cooper and Smith were arrested on March 28 during a traffic stop on the Hugh B. Day Bridge just south of Rogersville.
Cooper was charged with aggravated burglary for allegedly entering the residence, two counts of burglary for the outbuilding and vehicle, and theft over $500.
He was arraigned Monday in Hawkins County Sessions Court and as of Tuesday remained held in jail on $10,000 bond.
Smith was charged with aggravated burglary and criminal responsibility for another, as well as burglary and theft under $500 for allegedly entering her grandfather’s vehicle and stealing coins that she later sold to The Trade Center in Morristown.
As of Tuesday, Smith remained held in the Hawkins County jail on $35,000 bond.