Best of the blotter: Sullivan County's lawn mower bandit, scorned women, worm thief and more

Rain Smith • Dec 30, 2018 at 3:00 PM

This installment of the Times News blotter contains some of the highs and lows of Sullivan County police reports in 2018.

Jan. 26

On Dunlap Road in Kingsport, a prowler was allegedly trying to get into vehicles. When officers located the suspect, he said he was “waiting on Jesus ... didn’t want Jesus to leave him.” He yelled and appeared to be under the influence, then admitted to liking bath salts. He was arrested for public intoxication and disorderly conduct.

Feb. 26

A man called police to his workplace on Highway 11-W, saying his ex-wife had vandalized his pickup. According to coworkers, the woman asked which vehicle was his, then wielded a hammer to smash the windshield, side windows, rear window, turn signals and taillights. When police later located her, she admitted she had “lost her cool and busted every damn window.” She was arrested for vandalism.

March 10

When police were called to East Lawn Funeral Home on Memorial Boulevard, they found four large concrete benches had been broken, while a pair of headstones had been toppled. Tire marks were observed in the grass just a few feet away, while a receipt possibly lost by the suspect was collected as evidence. The total value of damages was estimated at more than $20,000.

May 13

A Kingsport woman claimed her boyfriend had choked and assaulted her. When pressed for details, she couldn’t provide further information and there were no signs of injury. However, the reporting officer noted the incident might have been connected to materials observed in a bedroom: “Many items consistent with sexual asphyxiation ... restraints attached to the bed.”

June 16

After a woman left a gas station on Highway 126, a review of surveillance footage revealed her placing items in a bag before she paid for fuel. They were identified as three tubs of fishing bait, each containing 18 worms.

July 9

A resident of Light Hollow Road called police about someone on his property firing a gun. When the caller went out to investigate, according to his account, he saw someone in the woods, and the suspect then fired another round. The complainant said he fired his gun four times in the direction of the trespasser, who grabbed his stomach and fled on what sounded like an ATV. Police found fresh tire tracks, but no suspect.

Aug. 29

Deputies responded to a Kingsport home to deal with an increasingly erratic neighbor. In the latest incident, according to the complainant, the suspect kept beating on the door, then hopped on the caller’s mower and rode away. Police found the neighbor around the block, where the stolen lawn tractor had run out of gas. She explained that she took the Craftsman “because she felt she needed to,” then told the officer to go ahead and arrest her. She was booked into jail on a charge of larceny.

Sept. 24

On Walnut Hill Road, a woman allegedly rammed her husband’s vehicle with her own, pushing him into a ditch. She then exited with a metal pole, hit his windshield multiple times and said, “I’m going to kill you, you cheating bastard.” The man was able to dislodge his vehicle and drive to the nearby Bristol hospital for help. His wife followed and police interviewed her in the parking lot. When asked where the pole was, she replied, “I don’t know, but if I had it, I’d bust him in the head with it right about now.” She was arrested for aggravated assault, vandalism and reckless endangerment.

Oct. 8

When a deputy went to check on a stolen car at a Kingsport home, a man tried to flee in the vehicle at a high rate of speed. Instead, he crashed into a fallen tree along the driveway, then exited the vehicle and went inside the residence. Police found him on a bed with baggies of a clear substance, netting his arrest on theft and drug charges.

Nov. 12

At about 2:30 p.m., authorities were alerted to an explosion on Central Heights Road. Police found that a man had been drying clothes with a propane heater in a shed, then left it running when he went to take a shower in his house. That’s when he heard the explosion and found the outbuilding on fire. The incident was ruled accidental.

Dec. 5

A deputy on the Buff City Highway spotted a car swerve over the double yellow line on two occasions. During a subsequent stop, police observed marijuana in plain sight. A search yielded baggies, multiple scales and nearly four ounces of pot. Meanwhile the driver, 19, blamed his erratic driving that spurred the stop on texting while behind the wheel. He was arrested on several drug charges.

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