Disgruntled worker charged with break-in
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By MIKE WEST/ Courier Editor

A disgruntled farm employee was charged with the $10,000 burglary of his bosses' home.

Deputy Tommy Miller was dispatched to a home where Steven Aaron Hollis had reported a burglary. The house, in question, belonged to his employers Ben and Catherine Simmons.

Hollis had gone to the house to borrow a tractor to use to haul off his trash. Once arriving at the Simmons' home he "noticed" that the resident had been broken into. Hollis then called Mrs. Simmons to report the burglary.

When Inspector Brandon Gullett and Sheriff Darrell Young arrived at the Simmons' residence no one was home so they drove to Hollis' nearby residence.

"Upon arrival Steven was standing on the front porch of the residence messing with some plastic totes," Gullett said. "I then made contact with Steven and advised him that I was there to speak with him about the burglary that he had called in earlier."

Gullett soon determined that Hollis' statements about the burglary differed from those of the Simmons.

"I then asked Steven about a safe inside the residences and if he knew the safe was inside. Steven said he did cause he works for the Simmons and has to go inside with paperwork all the time and that it (the safe) was always open," the investigator said.

"Catherine Simmons that that Steven shouldn't have known about the safe inside the residence cause Steven only worked outside on the farm," Gullett said.

She said the safe and several guns stolen from the house were hidden and were not visible, he said.

Ben Simmons told Gullett that Hollis had worked for them a couple of years and "had been doing good work."
Gullett and Young returned to Hollis' home and asked him about the burglary again.

"I then advised him that everything is leading back to him in this case," Gullett said.

Sheriff Young followed Hollis' footprints to a nearby barn and discovered the missing firearms.

Hollis was then taken into custody.

After first saying the other stolen items were gone, he confessed the rest was inside the house except for some items contained in that plastic tote bag on the front porch, Gullett said.

The items including antique coins, a pistol and a camera were recovered, along with items taken during other recent break-ins in the neighborhood.

Hollis then confessed to the burglaries.

"I then asked Steven how it happened, which he stated that he had went to the residence to borrow the tractor and got to thinking about his pockets being empty. Steven then stated he walked by the door and decided to break in," Gullett reported.

Hollis was charged with theft over $10,000, aggravated burglary and with being a felon in possession of a firearm. An Oct. 1 court date is set for General Sessions Court.


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