Couple charged in several burglaries at self-storage business

John Thompson • Jan 30, 2012 at 11:42 PM

ELIZABETHTON — An investigation by the Elizabethton Police Department into the November burglaries of several rental storage units at Cherokee Self Storage, 408 Cherokee Park Drive, has led to the arrest of a woman Sunday and the pending arrest of her husband.

Investigator David A. Peters said Loretta Mae Herman, 49, 1308 Patrick Drive, Johnson City, was charged with 33 counts of burglary, theft and vandalism. The charges stem from several reported break-ins at Cherokee Self Storage on Nov. 10.

Peters said the department conducted a month-long investigation, starting Nov. 11, into reports filed by several tenants who found the locks to their storage units cut and their property stolen. Some of the owners said some items stolen were irreplaceable, including hand-made Christmas ornaments made by deceased family members.

Video surveillance provided images of a Ford F-150 pickup truck entering the lot Nov. 10 and the camera being spray-painted before the truck leaves the lot. Peters soon heard from the Johnson City Police Department that they had Herman and her husband, James Allen Herman, in custody and they had a Ford F-150 matching the description of the one that had been in the Cherokee Self Storage lot.

Peters went to Johnson City and spoke with Mr. and Mrs. Herman. He reported Mr. Herman admitted being in Cherokee Self Storage lot on the 10th, cutting the lock, entering the storage units and stealing property. He said his wife was with him at the time but was not aware of the crimes being committed.

Further proof was found on the floor of a storage unit of one of the victims. Peters said the victim found an invoice for merchandise purchased at Valley Forge Auction. The invoice was dated Nov. 8 and the buyer’s name was James Allen Herman.

Mrs. Herman is scheduled to answer the charges during the next session of Sessions Court. The warrants on Mr. Herman remain outstanding, pending his transfer from the Washington County Detention Center.

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