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Cops nab robbery suspects

A car chase ranging from the Interstate to Campbell Station Road ended on Kingston Pike around noon, Thursday, April 24.

Joseph Duggan and Vicki Hartline, both residents of Lenoir City, were stopped by Tennessee State Trooper Carey Hixson in connection to the armed robbery of KenJo Market off Campbell Station Road.

The suspects, driving a white Mitsubishi Eclipse, were pulled over to the side of the Interstate but ignored “repeated, loud” requests that they get out of the vehicle, Hixson said. The suspects then sped away, heading down Campbell Station Road. Hixson followed them down Campbell Station to Kingston Pike, where the suspects blew a front tire in front of the entrance to Village Green subdivision.

Hixson then pulled the suspects over. Other troopers and Knox County police officers were on the scene. Duggan and Hartline were arrested; Duggan was escorted away in an ambulance.

Hartline repeatedly asked officers, “How many people did [Duggan] hit?” It is suspected that drugs were part of the motive for the robberies.

According to officers a string of armed robberies allegedly involving Duggan began the night of Wednesday, April 23. At 10:22 p.m., a white male robbed Mr. Gas, 13065 Kingston Pike, threatening employees with a pocketknife. The suspect told the clerk behind the counter to give him the money and that it “wasn’t worth dying for.”

The clerk and another employee were ordered into a restroom by the suspect and told to wait. The clerk emerged and saw the suspect leave in a dark mid-sized car.

At 6:10 a.m., Thursday, the suspect robbed the KenJo off Campbell Station Road with the same MO. He again said, “It wasn’t worth dying for.” The KenJo employee was ordered into a cooler to wait; she said she heard a loud car leave.

A man with the same description and MO robbed a KenJo in Roane County a short time later.

Two people were injured in this holdup: clerk James Hayes injured his right hand. During the robbery, a beer distributor attempted to tackle Duggan and was stabbed in the stomach.

He was taken to Parkwest Medical Center. Duggan took nothing from the KenJo, but grabbed a purse from another employee as he fled.

Finally, at 8: 43 a.m., the suspect robbed a Walgreen’s Phar-macy off Northshore Drive.

In the Thursday morning robberies, Duggan allegedly was driving the Eclipse, which is registered to Hartline. Duggan is on parole in Loudon County for robbery.

Tennessee Highway Patrol has charged Duggan with evading arrest and reckless endangerment. He also was charged with aggravated robbery for the Wednesday night holdup, and his bond was set at $44,000.

This investigation is still ongoing by State Troopers, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Knoxville and Loudon police departments.


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