The HCSO is hoping someone from the public will recognize this tool belt which fell from an escaping truck after two burglars were caught in the act. Photo courtesy of the HCSO.
SURGOINSVILLE — The Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office is asking the community for help in identifying burglars who were caught in the act last week at a house near Surgoinsville, and then struck the 74-year-old homeowner with their escape vehicle.
Sheriff Ronnie Lawson said Tuesday the men are facing attempted murder and aggravated assault charges.
A tool belt containing several construction tools fell off the burglars’ pickup as they fled.
The HCSO is hoping someone will recognize that tool belt, along with the description of the suspects, and the maroon full size Chevy truck they used to escaped.
The incident occurred on Jan. 8 shortly before noon.
Leonard Gilreath and his wife Sheila had been away from their home on Looney’s Gap Road north of Surgoinsville.
Upon their return home the couple noticed a maroon Chevy pickup, parked in their garage.
“Mr. Gilreath then approached his home and noticed two people in his carport attempting to load items from his home,” Lawson said. “The suspects then got in their vehicle and attempted to exit the garage in a very reckless manner. The vehicle side swiped the garage wall on the passenger side and also struck the Gilreath's vehicle on the driver's side.”
Lawson added, “During the incident, the suspects struck Mr. Gilreath with their vehicle, knocking him to the ground.”
Based on the Gilreaths’ descriptions, and part of the pickup that came off when it struck the garage the HCSO determined the escape vehicle to be a maroon Chevrolet full size pick-up truck around a 2000 model.
The vehicle will now have new damage to the driver's side and passenger side, with the passenger side mirror being torn off.
The suspects are described as white males approximately 5' 10" tall each.
One of the suspects had a short beard and the other was clean shaven.
The tool belt with tools found at the scene fell from the suspect’s vehicle.
Lawson said the suspects have possibly been in the area working as sub-contractors or doing "handyman" jobs.
Although they had placed several things in the garage, they hadn’t yet been loaded on the truck. The only property that the Gilreaths found missing was a Dewalt cordless drill battery.
“These individuals have no regard for other's property or human life,” Lawson said. “Mr. Gilreath was injured during the incident and could have easily been killed.”
Anyone with information about this crime or who recognizes the tool belt, vehicle or suspect descriptions, is asked to contact HCSO Detective Cliff Evans at (423)272-4848.