Man charged after reportedly breaking into car at Sheriff's Dept.

By Abby Morris-Frye
star staff
amorris@starhq.com

  A 32-year-old man was arrested Wednesday after he was reportedly caught breaking into a vehicle at a very unlikely place -- the parking lot of the Carter County Sheriff's Department.
  Robert Gary Dinkins, 32, 1263 Bluefield Ave., was arrested shortly after noon by Carter County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Keith Range and charged with evading arrest, leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, violation of the financial responsibility law and violation of the vehicle registration law. Due to the fact that the Carter County Sheriff's Department is located inside city limits, Detective Michael Merritt charged Dinkins with auto burglary in connection with the actual theft.
  According to police reports, Range arrived on the scene just in time to give pursuit to Dinkins, who was attempting to flee the scene after his burglary was discovered. "I was entering the parking lot of the Carter County Sheriff's Department from the Main Street entrance when I observed a blue Pontiac Grand Am leaving the parking lot at a high rate of speed," states Range in his report. "As I was attempting to turn on the vehicle, several people standing in the parking lot were pointing at the vehicle and yelling that the male subject, identified as Robert Dinkins, had just stolen a stereo out of a vehicle."
  As Range turned his cruiser around to try to apprehend the fleeing man, Dinkins' vehicle accelerated and ran the stop sign at the Main Street intersection and proceeded north on Main Street.
  "At this time, the 911 Center had dispatched that they had just received a call about a vehicle burglary that occurred in the parking lot of the Sheriff's Department and witnesses stated that the vehicle and driver I was attempting to catch was the suspect seen entering the vehicle that was burglarized," states Range in his report.
  During the pursuit, the vehicle driven by Dinkins struck a U.S. Forestry Service truck parked on Main Street but continued traveling on Main Street. The vehicle then ran the stop sign at the intersection of Main Street and East Elk Avenue. "I caught up to the vehicle at the intersection of East Elk and (Highway) 19E," states Range in his report. "I attempted a traffic stop on the vehicle, which had turned onto southbound 19E, pulling over a short distance later."
  While speaking with Dinkins during the traffic stop, Range discovered that the registration tag displayed on the Pontiac did not belong on that vehicle, but rather on a 1993 Ford. Dinkins also told the officer that he did not have insurance on the car.
  At that time, Range charged Dinkins with evading arrest, leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, violation of the financial responsibility law and violation of the vehicle registration law. Range then transported Dinkins to the Carter County Jail.
  Detective Michael Merritt was dispatched from the Elizabethton Police Department's Criminal Investigation Division to investigate the break-in to the vehicle. He then charged Dinkins with auto burglary in connection with the incident.
  Dinkins is scheduled to appear in Carter County General Sessions Court on Oct. 29.