MOUNT CARMEL — A 17-year-old Mount Carmel boy who was wanted for failure to appear on a marijuana trafficking charge was arrested early Sunday morning after local police set him up on a bogus blind date.
In September 2011, the 17-year-old was arrested during a traffic stop by Mount Carmel Police Department Lt. Chris Jones while allegedly in possession of more than an ounce of marijuana.
Jones remains on light duty while recovering from a knee injury that occurred during an unrelated arrest last month.
Jones told the Times-News Monday he has been looking for the fugitive juvenile since he failed to appear in juvenile court on the marijuana charge, but it was believed that the boy had fled the jurisdiction to Michigan.
Jones said he’d been monitoring the teen’s activities on social media, and when it appeared that the boy had returned to the area, Jones set his trap.
“He was a student at Volunteer High School, and we had information that he never showed up for court and was a runaway,” Jones said. “I began chatting with him electronically posing as a fictitious female. He actually thought he was speaking to a real female juvenile who wanted to party, and he was ready to party, and he wanted her to come pick him up at his location, which turned out to be at his grandparents’ residence on Redwood Street.”
The teen was expecting his blind date to show up shortly before 1 a.m. Sunday, but instead it was MCPD Officer Kenny Lunsford and Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Matt Pendleton.
When the officer knocked on the door, a woman answered and said the teen wasn’t there. The teen then allegedly fled out of a side door and was captured following a foot chase that lasted about 200 yards.
Lunsford stated in his report that “necessary force” was used to take the teen into custody, and he was lodged at the Johnson City Regional Juvenile Detention Center pending his next appearance in Hawkins County Juvenile Court.
Aside from pending marijuana, failure to appear and probation violation charges, the teen was additionally charged Sunday with felony evading arrest.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that the family has been covering for this young man because he’s looking at some serious charges,” Jones said. “He was already on probation when I arrested him for the marijuana last year, and with the other charges he’s facing some serious consequences.”