How a Tornado Helped Bust a Tennessee Neighborhood Thief
Tornado tossed items reported stolen into man's yard.
— -- A tornado that swept through a Tennessee town damaged homes and threw Jerrod Christian's belongings onto lawns - many of which had been reported stolen by his neighbors, police told ABC News.
Since the tornado hit the town of Kingsport on Sunday, Christian has been charged with two burglaries and two thefts.
Christian, 26, was in jail on unrelated charges when the twister hit. Neighbors emerging from their homes to survey the damage were surprised to see what was on Christian's yard, police and neighbors said.
"My house was torn up pretty badly, so I was checking things up,” Ed Cleek told ABC News. “Then someone called me and said: ‘Hey, I think that’s your air compressor. You want to take a look?’”
Cleek walked outside, and immediately spotted his bright red air compressor lying in his neighbor’s yard.
“I called the police right away,” Cleek said.
Officer Thomas Patton of Kingsport Police Department soon arrived at the scene.
“We also discovered a Lincoln welder which belonged to Mr. Cleek as well. There were a ratchet, an air hose and a weed trimmer that were stolen from other neighbors,” Patton told ABC News.
Cleek said it was no accident that his air compressor was in Christian's yard after missing for a while.
“My air compressor was locked up in a barn... I kind of had suspicions, but you can’t just accuse people without proof,” Cleek said.
At the time of the discovery, Christian was incarcerated in the Sullivan County Jail in Blountville, Tennessee, on charges of disorderly conduct and retaliation for past action.
"In that incident, his girlfriend called the police and said that he had taken her van without permission," Patton told ABC News.
Patton said as officers spoke with Christian, he became “extremely belligerent and disruptive, shouting and cursing the officers with profane expletives."
The officers arrested Christian for disorderly conduct and took him to the Kinsport City Jail. While en route to the jail, Christian allegedly threatened to assault the officer and sexually assault the officer’s children, resulting in the charge of retaliation for past action.
"We don't know if he will post bail yet," Patton said.
The officer said Christian had not entered a plea.
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