SURGOINSVILLE — Police say two Surgoinsville teens caused a disturbance Saturday at the regular bluegrass jam held downtown at Bellamy’s Hardware, but that’s not why they were locked up at the Johnson City Juvenile Detention Center.
The boys, both of whom are 17 and had recently moved to town, had been under surveillance by Surgoinsville police in relation to a rash of auto burglaries that took place last week in their neighborhood.
Surgoinsville Police Chief Jeff Hesoun said the boys had exhibited rowdy and unruly behavior since moving to the Hill Avenue area earlier this month, and it was their behavior that got them caught. Hesoun said the boys’ behavior was out of character for the neighborhood and brought a lot of attention to them.
“When a new element moves into a neighborhood, and all of a sudden there’s a rash of burglaries, common sense dictates who police are going to look at first,” Hesoun said. “I had plainclothes officers watching that residence for a couple of nights.”
While surveillance was under way, police were called to the teenagers’ residence Saturday night on a complaint of loud music and allegations that the boys were harassing people who walked by their front porch.
Police later allegedly observed the boys making threatening statements to people in the neighborhood who the boys suspected of calling police.
Eventually the boys went for a walk and ended up at Bellamy’s Hardware, where they allegedly caused a disturbance by refusing to pay admission and then refusing to leave.
Police were called and the boys were detained. Shortly after that, the mother of one of the boys came strolling by the police station. Hesoun informed her that the boys were suspected in about nine auto burglaries that occurred on Hill Avenue, Church Street, Ridge Street and Old Stage Road on Aug. 13 and 14.
Hesoun said the mother consented to a search of the residence, and several items stolen in the recent auto burglaries were recovered including wallets, credit cards and a .25 caliber semi-automatic handgun that was stolen from the pickup of former mayor Hanes Cooper.
As police entered the residence, they allegedly observed a third suspect, Kyle Andrew Brown, 26, 203 Hill Avenue, Surgoinsville, rush to the basement, where officers allegedly found several flower pots. A subsequent search allegedly revealed several small marijuana plants which allegedly had just been tossed into a potbellied stove. The juveniles are facing charges of burglary, theft, manufacturing marijuana, possession of a controlled substance, possession of a firearm and curfew violations.
Brown was charged with simple possession of marijuana and tampering with evidence.