Kingsport police say SUV thief had stolen wallets

Rain Smith • Feb 11, 2019 at 1:54 PM

KINGSPORT — An SUV theft suspect who was tabbed through DNA testing was arrested Saturday at a Kingsport store, where police say he was shoplifting and in possession of stolen wallets.

Anthony J. Coffey, 28, was wanted in connection to a Ford Escape that was stolen in November 2017. To defrost the windshield, the victim had left it unattended and running outside a residence on Stratford Road. The vehicle was found abandoned a few days later in Sullivan County, extensively vandalized with a blood stain in the interior.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation analyzed a swab of the stain, positively matching it to Coffey. Police announced last week that they obtained warrants for his arrest on charges of motor vehicle theft and vandalism over $1,000.

On Saturday afternoon, an anonymous caller reported Coffey was at Dunham's Sports in the Fort Henry Mall. When a responding officer approached Coffey and attempted to place him into custody, Coffey allegedly pulled away and ran toward the exit. Following a brief struggle, he was successfully handcuffed and arrested.

According to a Kingsport Police Department incident report, Coffey had a syringe in his possession, along with two wallets stolen from vehicles earlier that day. He is alleged to have used credit cards from the wallets while shopping in the mall. And in a backpack he carried, police found a fire starter that he allegedly shoplifted while in Dunham's Sports.

Along with the original warrants from the stolen SUV in 2017, Coffey was additionally charged with possession of stolen property, evading arrest, resisting arrest, possession of drug paraphernalia and theft of property. On Monday morning he remained held in the Kingsport jail on a $31,250 bond.


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