City man charged with stealing Atmos Energy truck

Published 3:38 pm Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Joshua Lovette

Joshua Lovette

A city man faces multiple charges after police say he stole a truck belonging to a local business over the weekend.
Officers of the Elizabethton Police Department arrested Joshua David Lovette, 35, of 608 Locust St., No. 33, Elizabethton, on Saturday and charged him with motor vehicle theft, vandalism over $1,000, theft of property over $5,000, possession of Schedule III drugs, and resisting stop/arrest.
Lovette appeared in Carter County General Sessions Court on Tuesday for arraignment. Judge Keith Bowers Jr. set Lovette’s bond at $2,000, and scheduled him to return to court on Feb. 14.
According to court documents, the charges against Lovette stem from an investigation conducted by police after a city resident called 911 to report someone stole his work truck from his home. The resident, Gary Bowling, described the vehicle as a white 2013 Ford F250 pickup and said it belonged to his employer, Atmos Energy.
Later that same day, around 10:20 p.m., Bowling called 911 and reported he found the stolen truck in the parking lot of Walmart. Bowling told dispatchers he was watching the truck and saw a male suspect near the vehicle.
EPD Capt. Anthony Buck said when he arrived on scene the truck was unoccupied, but he was able to positively identify it as the vehicle Bowling had reported stolen earlier in the day. Buck then spoke with Bowling at the scene, who told him he saw a man loading items into the truck.
“Mr. Bowling stated he approached the male and advised him to stay where he was, and the police had been called,” Buck said. “Mr. Bowling stated the male fled toward the vacant lot near Walmart and he gave chase.”
Bowling described the man as white with a thin build, about 5 feet 8 inches tall and wearing a ball cap and camouflaged coat.
“The area was contained and searched by officers and deputies of the Carter County Sheriff’s Department,” Buck said. “After an approximately 45-minute search, (I) located a male attempting to hide in a pile of concrete rubble.”
Buck said he identified the man as Lovette and placed him into custody. According to Buck, when officers searched Lovette they found him in possession of the keys to the stolen truck as well as a metal tin containing pills.
Officers read Lovette his Miranda rights, and he agreed to speak with officers, according to court documents.
“Defendant was asked why he had stolen the vehicle. Defendant stated he was ‘just walking’ yesterday night and it was cold,” Buck said. “Defendant stated he discovered the vehicle was unlocked and the keys were inside. Defendant stated he took the vehicle and had been under the influence of drugs at the time.”
Officers inventoried the truck with assistance from Bowling, who reported numerous items belonging to Atmos Energy had been removed from the vehicle. Buck said Lovette told officers the items were located at his home on Locust Street and he gave officers permission to search his residence.
“Officers searched the home and found large quantities of tools — also specialized tools — which belong to Atmos Energy,” Buck said, adding Lovette told officers which ones were stolen. “There was a burn pit next to the residence. There were items which belonged to Atmos Energy which were burned and attempted to be burned.”
“There were also other items outside the residence which were recovered that were taken from the vehicle,” Buck added. “Mr. Bowling arrived at the residence, the items were brought outside, and he identified the items which belonged to Atmos Energy.”
Officers released the recovered stolen property and the truck to Bowling.

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