Crime roundup: Auto theft, aggravated burglary and meth

Johnson City Press • Feb 26, 2020 at 11:12 AM

Recent felony arrests reported by the Johnson City Police Department:

Identity theft: On Feb. 20, Johnson City police officers arrested a man after he allegedly stole a backpack from Belk Home Store in the Johnson City Mall and provided officers with a false identity. Police said Michael Miller, 29, left the store without paying for a $55.50 backpack, which he hid behind a dumpster when police arrived. When police arrested him, he provided them with a false name and birthdate, fearing he had previous warrants. Police said the name he provided did have warrants, at which point the man gave police his real name, which also had warrants for failure to appear and a probation violation. Miller was held at the Washington County Detention Center on $11,000 bond. 

Meth, felony handgun possession: Johnson City police arrested a Chattanooga man after a brief foot chase when he was reportedly found with crystal meth and cocaine.   Police said Anston Baker, 28, ran from police after a routine patrol smelled marijuana coming from his vehicle, and a subsequent search of his person found him in possession of the narcotics. A K9 was brought in to conduct a free-air sniff of the vehicle, when police were alerted to 358 grams of meth, 367 oxycodone pills, 223 ecstasy pills and more cocaine. Police also found a handgun and a digital scale.  Baker was charged with possession of methamphetamine for resale, two counts of possession of schedule II narcotics for resale, possession of schedule I for resale, simple possession of marijuana, two counts of possession of drug equipment, convicted felon in possession of handgun, possessing a firearm during commission/attempt to commit dangerous felony, theft of property under $1,000 and misdemeanor evading arrest.  He was held in Washington County Detention Center on $70,000 bond and appeared in Sessions Court on Friday. 

Felony vandalism: A Jonesborough man was arrested after a suspicious persons call alerted authorities to a person taking items from somebody’s yard. Johnson City Police said a brief investigation found that the man, Levi Holt, 35, had also vandalized and burgled a car in the parking lot of the 11-E Motel. During the arrest, officers also found drug paraphernalia, marijuana and a set of brass knuckles. Holt was charged with burglary of a motor vehicle, felony vandalism, unlawful drug paraphernalia and possession of a prohibited weapon. He was held on $7,000 bond and appeared in Sessions Court on Friday. 

Storage unit burglary: Johnson City police arrested an Erwin woman after she was found trespassing at a storage building at 1412 E. Main St. in Johnson City. Police said 26-year-old Christina Bailey was found exiting the storage building and detained. A search inside the building found that several items from the building were in Bailey’s possession. Bailey also had an active warrant out of Washington County and was transported to the Washington County Detention Center and held on $10,000 bond. She appeared in Sessions Court on Feb. 19. 

Auto theft: Johnson City police made an arrest in an auto theft investigation related to a Carter County car crash in December. Police said 23-year-old Virginia Craig of Johnson City was driving under the influence when she crashed a 2010 Scion XB that had been reported stolen. Craig was charged with DUI in Carter County and auto theft over $2,500 from the JCPD. She was held on $750 bond at the Washington County Detention Center, and was due to appear in court on Wednesday.  

Overpay for contract work: Johnson City police arrested a man after he allegedly charged somebody for labor and materials related to contract work that was never completed. Jospeh Stout, 29, was charged with theft over $10,000 and appeared in court on Tuesday. 

Traffic stop leads to stolen vehicle recovery: A Johnson City police officer was on patrol when they saw somebody make an improper lane change, and pulled the vehicle over. After running the vehicle’s plate, the officer found the car was reported stolen out of Sullivan County and the driver, 21-year-old Kevin Nelms, was driving on a revoked license. Nelms was held at the Washington County Detention Center on $6,000 bond and was due to appear in court on Monday.

Fugitive from justice:  After being alerted to a wanted man heading towards Johnson City, JCPD were able to locate the vehicle being driven by the man, 59-year-old Richard Cody. Police arrested the man and charged him with being a fugitive from justice. He was held at the County Detention Center, and was arraigned on Tuesday. 

Felon with a gun: Police arrested a woman during a traffic stop after they allegedly found a gun in the woman’s possession. Police said Dionnica Wilson, 37, was a passenger in a vehicle stopped for speeding. Wilson and the other occupants were asked to step out and were searched, which is when police discovered she had a handgun in her possession, as well as several past felony convictions. Wilson was being held on $11,000 bond at the County Detention Center. 

Vandalism after being evicted: A woman was arrested after she allegedly vandalized her apartment at the John Sevier Center after being evicted, causing more than $1,000 in damage. Police said Jeleesa Hackler, 31, vandalized the apartment on Nov. 24, and was arrested on Valentine’s Day. She was held on $3,000 bond, and was arraigned on Monday. 

Drug arrest: Police said they found a woman in possession of meth and drug paraphernalia after pulling her over for driving recklessly.  After a search of the vehicle, police found 28-year-old Melanie Woods to be in possession of crystal meth after finding the paraphernalia in plain sight when speaking to Woods. Woods was being held on $5,000 bond, and was arraigned on Feb. 13. 

Fraudulent cellphone purchase leads to multiple charges: Police were called to a Verizon Wireless store on State of Franklin Road after a woman allegedly obtained two cellphones without paying and with a fake ID. Zayra Arzate Bello, 22, was identified in a separate investigation, and was already in custody on charges of criminal simulation and criminal impersonation from another alleged theft at a separate Verizon store when JCPD served the warrant. She was held on $5,000 bond for theft and appeared in court on Feb. 13 for those charges. She was held on $16,000 bond on the other charges and appeared in court last week.   

Stolen Xbox: In January, a resident of Clairmont Road reported that his son’s Xbox was stolen after noticing the door to his home was ajar. Randy Pritchard, 28, was developed as a suspect and ultimately charged with burglary and theft under $1,000. Pritchard was held on $21,000 bond, and was arraigned on Feb. 12. 

Speeding in a school zone leads to multiple charges: On Feb. 11, JCPD officers pulled a vehicle over for going 24 in a 15 mph school zone, where they discovered the vehicle’s registration had been falsified and discovered 1.1 grams of meth and seven oxycodone pills. Police charged 36-year-old Donna Whitson with altering/falsifying/forging plates, simple possession of schedule II, simple possession of methamphetamine and possession of unlawful drug paraphernalia.  Whitson was held on $10,000 bond and was arraigned last week. 

Purse stolen at library: In January, police were alerted to the theft of a purse that a woman accidentally left at the Johnson City Public Library, which contained more than $2,000 cash and roughly $300 in gift cards, a cellphone and multiple credit cards.  Police arrested Kyle Miller, 39, after he was reportedly seen on surveillance footage taking the purse. Miller was held on $4,000 bond and was arraigned earlier this month.  

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