A Kingsport man whose alleged theft of a utility trailer was recently thwarted by an observant neighbor of the victim — who chased him down and pulled him over — now faces felony charges in connection to five similar incidents.
James Franklin Puckett Jr., 28, of 3924 Bond St., is currently held in the Sullivan County Jail in Blountville. He was originally arrested July 2 following an incident the day prior on New Beason Well Road.
According to a Sullivan County Sheriff's Office report, a resident of the 100 block contacted police to state that he had caught an individual stealing his neighbor's utility trailer. The complainant, 65, said that upon observing the suspect drive away with the trailer, which had been hooked to a minivan, he gave chase in his own pickup.
According to the incident report, the victim's neighbor continually flashed his lights while pursuing the suspect, who was later identified through police investigation as Puckett. When Puckett eventually pulled over and was confronted by the complainant, he reportedly offered the excuse that someone "had given him permission to take it." Police say that was later determined to be untrue.
After successfully recovering his neighbor's trailer the complainant called police, with Puckett arrested the next day. He was charged with one count of felony theft of more than $1,000.
SCSO Public Information Officer Leslie Earhart said that since that time, Puckett has been linked to five additional utility trailer thefts. Each incident occurred in the Kingsport and Bloomingdale end of Sullivan County, with Puckett allegedly selling the stolen goods. Two of the stolen trailers have since been recovered.
An investigation is continuing, with additional charges pending. Puckett currently faces six counts of felony of theft of more than $1,000.