Teen charged with stealing trained police dog

Published 5:13 pm Tuesday, July 25, 2017

An Elizabethton teen faces a felony theft charge after police say he stole a trained police dog from a city residence.

Officers of the Elizabethton Police Department arrested James Henry Cline, 19, 921 Pine Ridge Circle, Apt. B, on Monday and charged him with theft of property over $10,000 and criminal trespass.

According to court documents, around 11:15 a.m. on Monday, EPD Cpl. Kirk Carrier responded to a home on Milligan Highway after 911 received a call regarding animal welfare at the home.

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Carrier said when he arrived he spoke with Cline, Heather Julian, and Ashley Scalf who told him they were concerned for the welfare of animals on the property. Carrier contacted the property owner, Joey Proffitt, who came to the scene.

Profitt told officers Cline, Julian, and Scalf did not have permission to be on his property and then told the three subjects if they returned to his property he would pursue criminal trespassing charges.

“The investigation revealed no evidence of neglect or abuse toward the animals, but some things were identified as needing improvement,” Carrier said. “Mr. Proffitt stated he is currently in the process of improving the property to better suit the animals.”

Carrier said he advised Cline, Julian, and Scalf to leave the property and Cline continued to express his concern for the animals.

About two hours later, Carrier was summoned back to Proffitt’s home after the man reported someone had stolen his dog. Proffitt told Carrier someone had taken his 7-year-old Malinois from his yard.

“Mr. Proffitt valued the dog at $14,000. He advised the dog is from Europe and is certified KNPV PH1 trained police dog,” Carrier said.

Due to the previous incident at the home, Carrier said Cline, Julian, and Scalf were identified as possible suspects. Carrier and EPD Sgt. Curtis Bullock went to a home on South Roan Street in an attempt to locate either the suspects or the animal.

When officers arrived, they spoke with Julian and Scalf, who both said they did not know anything about the dog being stolen. Scalf told officers Cline had made statements about returning to Proffitt’s home.

Carrier said Julian called Cline and asked him to come to the home on South Roan Street. When Cline arrived, Carrier said he had the missing dog in the car with him.

Officers retrieved the dog and placed Cline under arrest.

Cline appeared in Carter County General Sessions Court for arraignment on Tuesday. Judge Keith Bowers Jr. set Cline’s bond at $1,500 and scheduled him to return to court on August 22.