Three arrested in lawn mower theft

By Abby Morris
Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com
Three men were arrested Saturday night after officers found them in possession of a stolen lawnmower while investigating a theft from Wal-Mart.
"Officers were alerted by 911 that a theft had occurred at Wal-Mart in Elizabethton. Information was given that a yellow Stanley riding lawn mower was taken and the suspects left in a small Chevy pickup," Carter County Sheriff's Department Lt. Mike Fraley states in his report. "(Tennessee) Constable Harvey Shaffer informed me that he was behind the truck on Siam Road, and he observed the mower in the back of the truck."
At that point, Shaffer initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle on Siam Road and asked for officers of the CCSD to assist him. Three men were found in the truck and all three were charged in the theft.
Rickey Lynn Hardin, 26, of 169 Dan Cole Road; his brother, Clay Evans Hardin, 26, of 208 South Hills Dr., Apt. D, and Tony James Hurd, 24, of 249 Island Rd., Bristol, Va., were all charged with theft over $1,000 in the incident.
According to the police report, CCSD Deputy Dean Jones arrived on the scene and read Clay Hardin his Miranda rights and Clay Hardin stated to Jones that he had stolen the mower. Rickey Hardin and Hurd were also read their Miranda rights and both stated that they had no involvement in the theft.
Elizabethton Police Department Sgt. Charles Moreland gave Fraley a description of the mower, and Fraley placed Clay Hardin under arrest and charged him with theft over $1,000. According to Fraley's report, Clay Hardin gave officers a written statement as to his involvement in the crime.
Rickey Hardin and Hurd then also admitted their involvement in the theft of the mower, according to police.
Wal-Mart officials placed the value of the mower, a 21 horsepower, 46-inch cut Stanley brand riding lawnmower, at $1,748.
All three subjects are scheduled to appear in General Sessions Court Oct. 20.