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Alleged thief arrested

Knox County deputies arrested a man last week whom they claim has been an industrious thief.

Knox County Sheriff Tim Hutchison announced Thurs-day, March 9, the arrest of 33-year-old Michael Edward Henegar of Strawberry Plains on seven counts of theft for items valued at approximately $300,000 and one count of reckless endangerment. Bond has been set at $114,000.

Hutchison said the items recovered at Henegar’s residence included five Bobcats, one forklift, one Genie platform boom, four trucks, a motorcycle, a racecar, 12 trailers, a fog machine, generators, pressure washers and a host of smaller equipment.

“We have many more charges we are considering against this individual,” Hutchison said.

Hutchison said deputies discovered Henegar after receiving a telephone call Sunday night, March 5, about someone stealing a Bobcat from a construction site. Deputies responded to the scene and tried to pull over a vehicle driven by Henegar, who had his two small children with him. After a brief chase, officers arrested Henegar and later conducted a search of his residence.

“We’re not through sorting through all of the items we have recovered,” Hutchison said. “We located many of the owners, but there were a lot we haven’t been able to locate.”

The problem with locating the proper owners, Hutchison said, is that not all of the tools are clearly marked with serial numbers. Some of them have had the serial numbers removed or some of those with serial numbers weren’t registered.

Hutchison said he didn’t believe that Henegar was part of any type of theft ring.

“We have had a problem with theft from construction sites for quite some time,” Hutchison said. “We arrested a guy last week that would go into homes and cut the copper out of the wiring to sell. Copper’s getting a pretty high price right now.”

He said the sheriff’s office has established a task force that goes out at night to look in on construction sites.

“At night we try to keep up with the businesses so they don’t become a victim of theft,” he said.

Hutchison said the department would focus on the individuals who have been purchasing the stolen items and then fencing them.


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