Kingsport police warn community to lock cars when unattended following weekend juvenile felony arrests


KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – After the arrest of two male juveniles for multiple violent felonies stemming from car thefts across the city, Kingsport police ask citizens to keep their car doors locked at night.

Kingsport Police Public Information Officer Tom Patton told News Channel 11 that a pair of 13 and 16-year-old Black males were arrested on multiple felony charges following a slew of car thefts across the area.

“We were quickly able to narrow the search in on those two individuals as being the primary offenders. We do have reason to believe there are some additional folks involved, possibly some additional juveniles, possibly some adults. There could be some additional charges pending out of this investigation,” Patton said.

The pair of male juveniles – whose identities remain anonymous due to their ages – were charged with several violent crimes, including aggravated assault and attempted first-degree murder.

“We started seeing the same cars that were stolen being used in other crimes. We had several different drive-by shooting incidents, we had at least one carjacking incident,” Patton said.

He said up until just a few days ago, nobody had been shot, but that changed over the weekend.

“An individual was actually hit in the leg with gunfire. And then on (October) 23rd, we had two different incidents where the police were shot at while pursuing these individuals and in one case two Sullivan County Sheriff’s deputies’ cruisers were actually shot at by the offenders – no officers were hit. But, but again that all culminated, with the juvenile attachments being served for them, and then again we caught them on Saturday once they were spotted,” he said.

Juvenile Petitioner Attachments are functionally the same as an adult arrest warrant. Patton explained that it’s just a different term because of the age of the offenders.

He added that nobody is in imminent danger, but advised that a heightened sense of alertness would be prudent.

“We as citizens need to make this a little bit tougher for these types of criminals to do this. Every single car that these two individuals stole was unlocked and the keys were in the car, and quite frankly that’s unacceptable,” Patton said. “We as citizens need to make this tougher for them. Cars have locks for a reason. We need to lock our cars and remove the keys if for no other reason than a juvenile – who’s not even a criminal – who’s just curious could get at them and have an accident.

“We can’t leave those valuables, we can’t leave guns in unlocked cars, and we can’t leave unlocked cars with keys in the ignition, it just can’t happen in 2021 America.”

Read the full breakdown of the juveniles’ charges HERE.

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