Juveniles escape state custody, recaptured

By Kathy Helms-Hughes
STAR Staff

   Sometimes, though not often, things are exactly as they appear however remote the possibility -- something Carter County Sheriff's Department investigators were reminded of this week while checking into a number of home burglaries in the Central Community.
   According to Investigator Randy Bowers, the "MO," or modus operandi, matched crimes previously committed in the community. However, the suspect in those burglaries was safely tucked away in state custody in Greeneville, or so investigators believed.
   "He wasn't a suspect because we thought he was in state custody," Bowers said.
   Investigators had no suspects in an Oct. 25 burglary, Bowers said. However, during another burglary Monday, neighbors reported seeing two juveniles in the area.
   Upon checking with officials in Greeneville, investigators learned that the juvenile suspected in previous burglaries had escaped prior to the Oct. 25 incident, along with a companion.
   Sgt. Bowers, Lt. Jamie Jenkins, Lt. Rocky Croy, Sgt. Penny Cornett and Deputy Brad Hamm responded to the area and went to the duplex apartment where the boy lived with his father.
   Sgt. Bowers knocked on the door and "heard movement inside the house," he said.
   The boy's father, who is incarcerated in Carter County Jail, advised officers there was supposed to be no one in the residence and gave officers a key and permission to search.
   The two juveniles were found hiding in the attic.
   Both have been charged with two counts of aggravated burglary, theft under $500 and theft over $1,000, Sgt. Bowers said.
   They were transported to Johnson City Juvenile Detention Center and appeared Thursday in Juvenile Court.
   "Neighbors paying attention really helped on this one," Bowers said.
   According to Sheriff John Henson, "There has been a problem in that particular area for the last couple of weeks.
   "I'm just proud that they did catch them. It was a job well-done," he said.