Police arrested three men who they say admitted to stealing air-conditioning units from the top floor of a hotel on Alabama Highway that had been struck by the April tornado.
Andrew Thomason, 19, of Tunnel Hill, Ga., Trevor Dennison, 19, of Ringgold, and Micheal Muse, 49, also of Tunnel Hill, were charged with burglary after police caught men hauling AC units in the back of a truck Sunday night, an incident report states.
A Ringgold police officer caught the men driving out of the abandoned Quality Inn and asked them who had given them permission to take the units loaded in the truck bed, the report states.
Thomason, who was driving the truck, told the officer he couldn’t remember the person’s name, but he could call his mom to find out, the report states. But when his mother didn’t know the name either, the officer questioned Thomason again and he admitted he was “just trying to make some money,” according to the report.
Thomason and his two passengers, Dennison and Muse, were arrested and taken to the Catoosa County Jail.
The Quality Inn owner confirmed that all the air conditioning units from the top level of the hotel had been taken, but police found only nine in the suspects’ truck, the incident report said.
Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...