Homeowner keeps alleged thief from running off - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Homeowner keeps alleged thief from running off

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MCMINN COUNTY, TN (WRCB) - A McMinn County man took matters into his own hands after catching an alleged thief in the act. He was able to hold the suspect on his property until police arrived.

"He said there's a guy in there, and I said, 'Well block him in!'" Freddie Eaves remembered saying after finding out someone was on his family's property on Old Highway 11.

Deputies say Joseph Clemmer tried stealing his brother's boat first.

"He was trying to pull the boat out with two flat tires on the trailer," Eaves said.

Eaves' brother, who lives right down the street, was able to keep the suspect from running off until a deputy could get there.

"He had him pinned in and I blocked the rest of the driveway," he said.

A stolen motor was found in Clemmer's truck. But Clemmer told police that some guy named 'Sam' said he could come take the boat and other items from the property.

The deputy didn't buy it.

"This seems to be what we hear more and more of," said McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy. "That 'Oh, someone told me to get this property at this home that I don't have anything to do with.'"

Although Guy said detaining a suspect isn't always recommended, it can be a big help sometimes.

"We have had some folks hold people at gunpoint, and they're certainly within their right to do that," Guy said.

Eaves said he didn't have a weapon -- just some choice words for the suspect.

"What I said to him, you're not gonna put on the air," said Eaves.

"Folks have a right to defend themselves. They've got a right to take care of their property and home," Guy said. "That's about as far as you can go, is your own home. And we respect that."

Officers said Clemmer eventually admitted to stealing. He was charged with theft and taken to the McMinn County Jail, where he posted a $1,000  bond.
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