One vehicle had been stolen from a dealership and one from a city paint and body shop. The third victim left their keys in the ignition of an unlocked 2013 Mercedes, saying they left it running because their dog was inside the SUV.
According to Kingsport police, the first arrest occurred at approximately 8 a.m. in the parking lot of 704 Lynn Garden Drive. Jeffrey A. Creech, 49, of 556 Gray Station Road, reportedly asked a passing motorist for a jump-start on a 1995 Nissan Pathfinder.
The motorist called police because they believed Creech, who was attempting to start the Nissan with a screwdriver, seemed suspicious.
Officers Jesse Griggs and Andy Goddard responded to the scene, with a records check revealing the vehicle reported stolen on Aug. 16. Kingsport Police Department Public Information Officer Tom Patton says an employee of Wallace Nissan, 2733 East Stone Drive, had left it in the parking lot of the business overnight.
Creech was arrested Sunday on Lynn Garden Drive, charged with motor vehicle theft and booked into the city jail. Approximately 18 hours after posting bond and being released, he was arrested again.
Police say that at 6 a.m. Monday Creech was spotted rummaging through a pickup parked along East Sevier Avenue. He reportedly attempted to run from KPD officers but was quickly apprehended.
Subsequent investigation allegedly revealed he had committed two additional auto burglaries since his release from jail and had items believed to have been stolen from the vehicles. Police say he was also in possession of medication bottles prescribed to other individuals.
Creech was arrested again, this time charged with three counts of auto burglary and simple possession of a controlled substance. His bond is now set at $15,000.
Sunday’s second, unrelated arrest for motor vehicle theft occurred at approximately 10:50 a.m. at Model City Apartments, 1000 Stoengate Road. Police reportedly observed David M. Stallard, 18, of 1207 Camelia Ave., Kingsport, exit a vehicle reported stolen on Aug. 15.
The car, a 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix, was allegedly taken from Bill McConnell’s Paint and Body, 2551 East Stone Drive. Patton says it had been left at the shop for repair. Stallard was arrested at Model City Apartments, charged in the theft and transported to the city jail.
The final incident occurred just over an hour after Stallard’s Sunday arrest, at the parking garage on Shelby Street. The owner of a 2013 Mercedes SUV reportedly left the vehicle unattended, with the doors unlocked and engine running.
Police say the victim reported doing so because his dog was inside the vehicle. When he returned to his parking spot a few minutes later, the SUV was gone.
Approximately 15 minutes after the Mercedes was reported stolen KPD Sgt. Steve Summey spotted it near the intersection of West Stone Drive and Bloomingdale Pike. When a stop was conducted, Tonya L. Roof, 35, of 1310 West Sullivan St., was allegedly behind the wheel, with the dog still inside the vehicle.
Roof was arrested and charged with motor vehicle theft over $60,000 and driving on a revoked license. Police say both the Mercedes and dog were returned unharmed to the owner.
Patton stressed that it’s never wise to leave an unattended vehicle unlocked, let alone with the keys in the ignition and the engine running.