Caught on tape

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By MIKE WEST/ Courier Editor

It was all caught on camera.

Now, three people face burglary, vandalism and drug-related charges follo-wing a break-in at Short Mountain Market.

The incident began when market owner Ralph Harvey was watching TV in his nearby home. Harvey heard a loud noise and looked outside his door and spotted a red Pontiac Grand Am parked outside in the parking lot of his store.

A man and a woman were outside the car and one of them was trying to break into a soft drink machine, said Investigator Brandon Gullett.

"Mr. Harvey ran outside and chased the car out of the parking lot," Gullett said.

Harvey then called the Cannon County Sheriff's Department which dispatched Officer Doc Smith to take a report.

Investigator Gullett and Investigator Anthony Young were called to watch a surveillance video taken during the incident.

That video was revealing.

"I could see three subjects in the vehicle and then observed that the driver exited the vehicle and started looking around," Gullett said. 

The second male exited the car and pulled a dark-colored hoodie over his white T-shirt. He then pulled the hood over his head, the investigator said.

That second man approached the soft drink machine while the first suspect, with long, blonde hair and a beard, continued to look around the site.

Suddenly, both men ran to the car and it took off at high-speed. Gullett then saw Harvey running toward the vehicle.

The investigators downloaded a copy of the video tape and returned to the sheriff's department where they received information about another case.

Gullett and Young left the sheriff's offices but stopped by the Quick Stop market to purchase a soft-drink. There, across the street, the investigators, along with Sheriff Darrell Young, spotted a red Pontiac Grand Am matching the one in the video.

The officers pulled into the parking lot and stopped the Grand Am that had white male with long, blonde hair and a beard in the passenger's seat.

"I observed that the while male was the same white male I had observed in the video from Short Mountain Market," Gullett said. He was accompanied by another white male who was wearing a white T-shirt.

Gullett was talking to the two men when he spotted a female walking toward the car from the probation office.

"I made contact with the female and found out that she was Emily Kate Kelsey," Gullett said.

The trio denied any knowledge of a break-in at Short Mountain Market.

Kelsey admitted the car was hers.

"I then advised her that I was investigating a burglary that had occurred at Short Mountain Market and that I had her and her vehicle on camera at the store during the course of the burglary," Gullett said.

Kelsey refused to let officers search her vehicle.

It was then the officers discovered Kelsey had an active warrant in Rutherford County and that one of the men, Joshua Brandon Graham, had two active warrants out of Warren County.

"Emily started to cry and became very defensive," Gullett said.

Ultimately, she allowed the detectives to search her car. Evidence of drug abuse was discovered along with a tire tool and black crowbar. Five street signs were also discovered.

"I then contacted Warren County in reference to the street signs belonging to them," Gullett said. 

A Warren County detective advised Gullett that there had been at least three drink machines broken into on those same roads.

Kelsey and Graham were subsequently charged with burglary, vandalism, simple possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The third suspect, Dustin Cody Hirzel, was charged with driving on a suspended license, simple possession, possession of drug paraphernalia, burglary and vandalism over $500.

A hearing date is set for all three on Oct. 8 in General Sessions Court.

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Members Opinions:
September 15, 2013 at 9:57am
Great! Message to thieves... Stay out of Cannon County!
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