published Saturday, January 4th, 2014

Car theft suspects jailed in Marion County

Car thieves with a taste for Chevrolet Camaros stole six vehicles from a dealership in Kimball, Tenn., over the New Year's holiday.

Police arrested Christopher Lyn Coffelt, 34, of Chattanooga; David Andrew Jones, 25, of South Pittsburg; and Brittany Trail, 27, of Tracy City, for allegedly stealing three 2014 Camaros, a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, a 2014 GMC pickup truck and a 2012 Toyota Tundra. All are jailed in Marion County.

"They got the keys to them. They were able to break into the lock boxes and start them that way," said Tom Thomas, general manager of Gentry Chevrolet, Buick and GMC.

The vehicles disappeared on New Year's Day and early the following morning, Thomas said. Surveillance camera footage from First Jackson Bank next door to the dealership captured some of the thefts.

"It's not real good, but it helped a little," Thomas said of the video.

What really helped, he said, were the OnStar in-vehicle security systems in the General Motors' cars and trucks.

"OnStar was the big key here," he said.

All of the vehicles, with the exception of the GMC truck, were recovered, Thomas said Friday afternoon. The vehicles were found in locations including Jasper, Chattanooga and Wildwood, Ga., Kimball Police Department Sgt. Chris Webb said.

All three suspects were booked on charges of theft over $60,000, he said. Jones faces additional charges from the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Webb said.

Because of the thefts, the dealership may change its lock box system for car keys, Thomas said.

"We've had some vehicles stolen over the years, but not this many," he said.

Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at tomarzu@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6651.

about Tim Omarzu...

Tim Omarzu covers Catoosa and Walker counties for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California. Stories he's covered include crime in blighted parts of metro Detroit and Reno, Nev.; environmental activists tree-sitting in California's Sierra Nevada foothills; attempts by the Michigan Militia to take over a townshipÂąs government in northern Michigan. A native of Michigan, ...

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