Eric A. Sikkema, 28, of 3864 East Line Drive, apartment 28, Kingsport
A Kingsport man has been arrested for allegedly stealing a Hoveround from a city grocery store, then attempting to return it as police were taking a report on the incident.
The suspect claimed that he and a friend thought the powered wheelchair was one that had been stolen from his friend's grandfather, according to police. Eric A. Sikkema, 28, of 3864 East Line Drive, apartment 28, was arrested at the scene and charged with felony theft over $500.
A Kingsport arrest report says officers were called to Food City on North Eastman Road shortly after noon on Friday. The 70-year-old victim told police that he had left his Hoveround parked inside the store as he shopped, using one of the grocery store's wheelchairs to do so. When he finished buying groceries the personal mobility vehicle was gone.
Store surveillance footage allegedly captured two men walk into the store, with one sitting on the Hoveround and driving it outside. Both men then reportedly loaded the chair into a Ford Explorer and drove away.
As an officer was taking a report on the incident the suspect vehicle returned to the store. One of the men from the store's video, later identified as Sikkema, was spotted unloading the chair from his vehicle and approached by police.
Sikkema reportedly admitted that he and a friend had stolen the Hoveround, claiming they believed it to be a scooter previously stolen from the friend's grandfather. He said he returned it because they had checked the chair's serial number, finding it didn't match that of the allegedly stolen unit.
Sikkema was arrested and booked into the city jail.