Roan Mountain man charged in recent burglaries

By Abby Morris
Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com
A Roan Mountain man was arrested and charged in connection with two recent burglaries after officers received a tip from a citizen.
Wade Evan Hampton, 37, 450 Cloudland Drive, Roan Mountain, was arrested Saturday on outstanding warrants - one out of Criminal Court for violation of probation and one out of Chancery Court for child support - and was later charged with two counts of aggravated burglary, two counts of theft over $500, possession of Schedule IV narcotics (Xanax) for resale and possession of Schedule VI narcotics.
According to reports, on Sept. 3, Bill Kerlay, of 505 Main St., Roan Mountain, reported to CCSD officers that someone had entered his residence and stolen two handguns - a .357 Smith and Wesson Revolver and a .32 caliber semi-automatic pistol.
On Sept. 6, Peggy Stockton, 203 Conway St., Roan Mountain, reported to officers that someone had entered her home through a window and had taken approximately $200 in old coins that included wheat pennies, Indian head nickels, two 1828 silver dollars, Kennedy half-dollars and Susan B. Anthony dollars. She also reported that four walkie-talkies, a set of binoculars and two antique style glass frames were stolen.
The break for investigators came when a citizen contacted Carter County Sheriff John Henson with some information about the theft of the firearms. "The Sheriff called and told me he had just spoken to a guy who said that Wade Hampton had those guns and had tried to sell them to him," said CCSD Inv. Laverne Julian.
After receiving that information, Julian took the outstanding warrants and drove to Hampton's residence in Roan Mountain. Julian stated that when he arrived, Hampton was not at home and the officer stayed in the Roan Mountain area for "a couple of hours" and passed by the residence numerous times waiting for Hampton to return, Julian states in his report.
"As I started to pass the home again, a neighbor stopped me and stated that Wade Hampton had just pulled into his drive," Julian said, adding that he could see Hampton's car from the roadway. "At that point I backed off and called for another officer to assist me."
CCSD Deputy Brad Hamm then arrived on the scene and he and Julian went to Hampton's residence and knocked on the door, identifying themselves as law enforcement officers.
"Having felony warrants and knowing Mr. Hampton was at home and not answering the door, we made forced entry through the front door," Julian said. "We cleared the house at that time. His bedroom was the last room we cleared and we saw the window open and Hamm and I assumed that he had fled."
It was during the search of the residence while officers were looking for Hampton that they discovered evidence linking him to the recent burglaries. "In his bedroom he had three mattresses stacked together and I thought that maybe he had hollowed one of them out and was hiding in there. I've seen that done before," Julian said. "When I lifted the mattress up to look under it is when I saw the gun laying there and a bag with the coins from the burglary earlier that day."
At that time, Julian and Hamm exited the residence and waited on other officers to arrive. "Sheriff John Henson, Capt. George Skeans, Constable Merl Holtsclaw, along with Deputy Hamm secured the residence while I came back to the office to obtain a search warrant for Hampton's home," Julian states in his report.
As Julian was returning to the scene, he heard officers on the police radio stating that they had Hampton in custody. Julian stated that Hampton had been found hiding in an area between the walls of the home similar to a crawl space. According to Juilan, in the bathroom of the residence, a cabinet with a false bottom was built into the wall and Hampton had been hiding in a very tight space in the bottom of that cabinet.
"When I left to get the search warrant I was gone probably about two-and-a-half to three hours. He was hiding in that space for so long I guess he must have cramped up," Juilan said. "The officers said they heard some noise in the bathroom and when they went in there they found him coming out of the hole."
A search of Hampton's residence with the search warrant revealed not only some items which were taken in the two burglaries, but officers also found more than 370 tablets of Xanax, a Schedule IV narcotic, along with a marijuana cigarette.
On Wednesday, Julian had warrants taken on Hampton charging him with two counts of aggravated burglary and two counts of theft over $500 in connection with the burglaries, possession of Schedule IV narcotics for resale, and possession of Schedule VI narcotics in relation to the drugs which were found at his residence.
Hampton is currently being held without bond in the Carter County Jail. He is scheduled to appear in General Sessions Court on Sept. 15.