Bradley County authorities arrested a seventh suspect on Wednesday for looting from a tornado-ravaged home.
Sheriff’s deputies report they caught Scott Charles Carey crouching behind bushes after neighbors reported a burglary in progress on Williamsburg Road.
Turns out 37-year-old Carey lived next door to the burgled residence and he was apparently attempting to pilfer tools from neighbor Carl Schlageter’s home, according to a sheriff’s news release.
Sheriff Jim Ruth has arrested seven looting suspects, including Carey and two juveniles, since the April 27 tornadoes damaged hundreds of homes and displaced thousands of Bradley residents.
Deputies have kept constant patrol in front of several neighborhoods to keep looters and gawkers at bay, the sheriff’s department said.
Looting has been widespread across the South following the largest number of tornadoes reported in a single day killed 344 people. Five tornadoes in Bradley County killed nine people.
Officials in Madison County, Ala., issued a national alert, telling looters to stay away from the storm-ravaged community. A few days later, a convenience store owner there shot and killed a suspected looter as he broke into the store.
At the Tuesday Ringgold City Council meeting, Police Chief Dan Bilbrey said he had reports of looting at the wrecked Ringgold Middle School and convenience stores, while several items were reported stolen from tornado-ravaged hotel rooms.
Mayor Joe Barger and the chief discussed a need to continue a 9 p.m. curfew but said police-manned checkpoints would be discontinued this week.
In Bradley County, Carey was charged with aggravated burglary. Arraignment was held in General Sessions Court Wednesday morning and he has been released on his own recognizance pending future court hearings, according to Bob Gault, the Bradley sheriff’s spokesman.
Adam Crisp covers education issues for the Times Free Press. He joined the paper's staff in 2007 and initially covered crime, public safety, courts and general assignment topics. Prior to Chattanooga, Crisp was a crime reporter at the Savannah Morning News and has been a reporter and editor at community newspapers in southeast Georgia. In college, he led his student paper to a first-place general excellence award from the Georgia College Press Association. He earned ...