Couple arrested on theft charges

By Abby Morris
Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com

   A 40-year-old man and his 37-year-old girlfriend were arrested Monday by investigators with the Carter County Sheriff's Department and charged in connection with two separate burglaries that occurred in the county.
   Charles William Tipton, also known as Chuck White or Chuck Jennings, of 1414 Spruce St., Apt. 4, Johnson City, was charged with theft over $10,000, theft over $1,000 and being a fugitive from justice in the state of Florida. His girlfriend, Teena Hopson, of the same address, has been charged with theft over $1,000.
   The first theft occurred sometime either late on the night of June 8 or in the early morning hours on June 9. Officers of the Johnson City Police Department contacted the Carter County Sheriff's Department and informed them that they had located a boat they believed had been stolen, and, when they checked the boat's registration, it belonged to a Carter County man.
   Officers of the Sheriff's Department went to the residence of the boat's owner, James Boone, of 214 Price Road, in the Stoney Creek community of Carter County, and spoke to him about the boat. He reported to officers at that time that he had not yet realized that the boat was indeed missing, according to reports. He stated that he had last seen the boat, a 1993 Javelin model, when he had left his residence, but, when he returned home, he had parked in the front of the building and had not checked the rear of the building where the boat was kept.
   In addition to the boat, Boone also reported that a motor for the boat, a trolling motor, batteries and various fishing equipment were stolen as well. He reported that the estimated value for the items that were stolen was more than $16,800.
   The second theft was reported on June 29 when David Stout, 2110 Old Lewis Road, told officers that someone had stolen his 2001 Craftsman Lawn Tractor from his residence. The estimated value of the lawn tractor was $3,000.
   Investigators looking into the theft of the lawn tractor developed Hopson as a suspect in the theft.
   According to a report by CCSD Sgt. Audrey Covington of the Criminal Investigations Division, Hopson confessed to officers on Monday that she had stolen the lawn tractor along with Tipton. "She further admitted to selling the mower to her uncle ... for $400," Covington states in her report. Investigators located the lawn tractor at the residence of Hopson's uncle, and the man advised officers that he had purchased the lawn tractor from Hopson and Tipton.
   At that time, Covington and Inv. Johnny Blankenship charged Hopson and Tipton each with theft over $1,000.
   While investigators were speaking to Tipton about the theft of the lawn tractor, he confessed to the theft of the boat from Boone's residence in Stoney Creek, according to reports. "He admitted to stealing the boat, pulling it to Johnson City where he took the motor, trolling motor and batteries off of the boat," Covington states in her report. "He then advised that he took the items to Greeneville and sold them; however, later he advised he took them to Florida and sold them.
   Tipton was then also charged with theft over $10,000.
   After taking Tipton into custody, investigators checked with the National Crime Information Center to see if Tipton had any outstanding warrants from other counties or states. "NCIC confirmed a warrant hit from the state of Florida for similar charges," Covington states in her report. "Florida was contacted, in which they confirmed they will extradite Tipton back to Florida. Therefore, he was charged with (being a) fugitive from justice."