Mower-theft suspect caught in his tracks, driving stolen mower - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Mower-theft suspect caught in his tracks, driving stolen mower

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A lawn mower thief was caught by McMinn County Sheriff’s Office deputies driving the stolen mower down the road in Niota.

According to Sheriff Joe Guy, deputies Jerry Wattenbarger and Brian Greenlaw responded to a call Sunday evening to a home on County Road 267.

The homeowner had discovered a man riding her lawnmower down the road. When she confronted the man, and saw he was also carrying her weedeater and gas can.

“The female homeowner pulled him off the mower and demanded he tell her his name,” said Sheriff Guy. “He gave a false name, but then pulled away and walked away from  the scene. She also discovered her tractor wrecked in a ditch down the road. Then, a few minutes later, she said a blue car passed by with the suspect in the passenger’s seat.”

Detective Blake Witt took up the case Monday after Sheriff Guy posted descriptions on social media. Witt followed up on information that led to the suspect vehicle and the suspect’s identity: Christopher Hammonds, 25, of Athens. Detective Witt and Sgt Paul Johnsons located Hammonds at a residence on Spruce St in Athens and placed him under arrest.

Hammonds is charged with Burglary, Theft Over $100, and Theft Over $10,000, and a warrant for Violation of Probation. He was booked into the McMinn County Jail under a $22,000.

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