Officers arrest local man for stolen weapons

By Julie Fann

On Monday, Carter County Sheriff's Department officers arrested a man who allegedly stole several weapons, ammunition, $500 in cash and other items from the home of Paul Taylor, 144 Lick Branch Road on Oct. 16.
   Officers Laverne Julian and Audrey Covington arrested Mitchell Estep, 25, 128 Joshua Trail, Elizabethton on charges of aggravated burglary and theft over $1,000.
   "We saw him driving up the road, just happened to see him, and he stopped. All of the guns and ammunition were on him with the exception of two that he had pawned," said Julian.
   Julian said Estep is related to the Taylor family and that Estep's mother phoned the Taylor's and told them she believed her son was responsible for the theft. Authorities responded to witness statements.
   Estep was driving a Chevy Blazer when officers located him. According to Julian, the vehicle was packed full of clothes and other items, including everything stolen from the Taylor home except for the $500 in cash, which he had spent.
   "He was out on bond on another charge. He pawned one of the guns in Middle Tennessee. We're going to contact the Fayetteville PD and have them contact the pawn shop and send the gun to us," Julian said.
   On Oct. 17, Taylor reported to CCSD officer Tim Tester that he and his wife, Lennis Taylor, had left their home at 6:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 16. When they returned at 8 p.m., they noticed their home had been burglarized and several items were missing.
   According to the report, entry had been made through the front door, which was unlocked.
   The items reportedly stolen included two Winchester rifles, three shotguns, another muzzle loader rifle, over $500 in cash, a sleeping bag, assorted ammunition and some gun slings.
   Taylor said he was pleased CCSD officers were able to retrieve his property. "I got robbed on Wednesday, and Laverne Julian called me tonight. A lot of people said, 'you're wasting your time; you won't get your guns back.' It shows they're on the job," said Taylor.
   Estep is being held in the Carter County Jail on $7,500 bond. Julian said Estep was compliant and confessed to the crime.