Police searching for power tool pilferers shoplifting from multiple Lowe’s locations

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3 suspects arrested; others remain at-large

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Police continue trying to nail multiple subjects for thefts from Lowe’s Home Improvement stores across Northeast Tennessee.

On Wednesday, both Jonesborough and Greeneville Police Departments released new photos of shoplifters from the Lowe’s stores in their jurisdictions.

The photos released by Jonesborough investigators showed two men in the store about 2:40 p.m. on July 2nd.

“They looked around for about ten minutes grabbed Dewalt tool sets then left the store with the property without paying,” Sgt. Dennis Higgins told News Channel 11.

The men in the pictures appear to be the same as those pictured in the photos released by Greeneville Police. Lt. Tim Davis said the men stole tools from the Lowe’s there.

All the photos released showed two men, one wearing an orange Clemson t-shirt, the other wearing a white t-shirt and black pants.

The Greeneville Police Department is seeking the public's assistance in identification of the below pictured males….

Posted by Greeneville TN Police Department on Wednesday, July 10, 2019

First incidents reportedly happened in May

News Channel 11 first reported on July 5about the thefts, which have dated back to late May in some cases.

Elizabethton Police confirmed they’re investigating after a suspect ran out the door with a 6-piece power tool DeWalt set without paying for it both on June 30 and July 2.

(Elizabethton Police Department)

On July 9, the Johnson City Police posted to its Crime Stoppers and Most Wanted Facebook page pictures of the same man. The post states the man is “wanted for questioning in reference to a shoplifting at Lowes in Johnson City.”

The Johnson City Police Department is seeking the identification of the pictured suspect wanted for questioning in…

Posted by Johnson City Police Crime Stoppers and Most Wanted on Tuesday, July 9, 2019

An earlier Elizabethton Police report, filed June 11, said two men stole several of the same type of tool sets about 9:30 p.m. on June 1.

That earlier EPD report also listed similar incidents at the West Kingsport Lowe’s on May 27, the Johnson City Lowe’s on May 29, the location in Jonesborough on June 1and the same Kingsport Lowe’s again on June 10.

Most of the incidents happened between 8 and 10 p.m., as the stores are preparing to close.

Police believe all these crimes are connected because the shoplifters have been going for the same items. Officers told News Channel 11 they anticipated more incidents.

In the case of the Elizabethton and West Kingsport Lowe’s shoplifters, police in both cases noted the shoplifters were in a maroon Chevrolet Malibu with a North Carolina license plate.

Branching out from power tools

Sgt. Higgins said that in the case of the Jonesborough Lowe’s, one set of shoplifters has moved from the power tools, to generators and weed eaters.

Higgins said investigators believe they have two separate groups.

“The above individuals stole two generators from Lowes on July 4th,” Higgins said. “The same two returned again yesterday (July 9) stealing two expensive weedeaters.”

JPD provided these pictures to News Channel 11, showing two men walking through the parking lot with the weed eaters.

Information provided by investigators indicate these two men also shoplifted items from Lowe’s locations in Johnson City and North Carolina.

The red Dodge Neon they got into also displayed a North Carolina plate.

3 suspects arrested in Cocke County

Joneborough police told News Channel 11 on July 5 that three people were arrested for shoplifting from the Lowe’s in Newport, Tenn.

According to Cocke County Jail records, Joshua Alan Byrd, 36, of Candler, N.C. and Rusty James Pearson, 23, of Hillsboro, Ohio, were both charged with theft over $1,000, theft and criminal conspiracy.

As of July 10, both remained behind bars. Bond has been set for $12,500 each. Both the Hamblen County Sheriff’s Office and Kingsport Police Department placed holds on Byrd and Pearson in connection to shopliftings in their areas.

A third man, identified as Ricky Edward Smith, 54, of Old Fork, N.C., was also charged with criminal conspiracy and theft over $1,000. Jail records show he posted his $12,500 bond and was released June 22.

Jonesborough officers told News Channel 11 the shoplifting in Newport was reported to police. An officer spotted their vehicle parked along Interstate 40 and arrested the trio. One of the men told investigators they would drive to Northeast Tennessee from North Carolina, shoplift from several Lowe’s locations and drive back to North Carolina to sale the pilfered goods.

More arrests could be made

Multiple law enforcement agencies have told News Channel 11 they expect to make more arrests for the string of shopliftings. They also have said they believe all these cases are related.

“Hopefully we can provide them with a home very soon,” Higgins said.

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