Text messages about a Johnson City man’s intentions to steal from an unoccupied house to finance his girlfriend’s jail bond helped Washington County investigators charge him with burglary on Monday, according to a news release.
Joseph Michael Lockner, 23, 3 Mel Circle, was found inside an unoccupied house off Tenn. Highway 36 late Monday evening after the homeowner of the burned-out house arrived and called 911.
When Investigator Tim Moore arrived, he found the victim talking to Lockner, and Lockner initially claimed he’d gone there to look for a friend and was just looking around.
Futher investigation, however, disputed that claim.
Court records show that Moore found text messages sent from Lockner’s phone to other people indicating he was at the house to steal scrap metal so he could sell it to get money to make bond for his incarcerated girlfriend.
One of the messages documented in court records stated Lockner was “at the burned house in bones creek stilling stuff.”
Lockner told Moore he knew what he was doing was wrong “deep down.”
Lockner was charged with burglary and driving on a suspended license. He was jailed in the Washington County Detention Center on $11,000 bond. He was scheduled for arraignment Tuesday.