Four arrested, charged in HVAC theft cases
by GREG KAYLOR, Banner Staff Writer
Sep 21, 2012 | 2877 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HVAC arrests
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Four suspects have been arrested and charged in city and county cases where heat and air systems thefts were stolen from area businesses and homes during the past few weeks. One of the suspects involved in the Cleveland Police Department cases is being charged by Bradley County officials as well.

According to reports, Keith Clark, 37, was taken into custody Thursday at a Benton Pike location.

Clark and Myrtie Franklin Keith, 32, have been charged under a new Tennessee statute.

“Both suspects have been charged with a class A felony, theft over $250,000, under a statute enacted this year by the General Assembly that went into effect on July 1,” said Bob Gault, media relations coordinator for the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office.

“Keith and Clark are believed to be the first to be charged under the new statute that carries a minimum term of 15 years in prison,” Gault added.

According to reports, the thefts occurred at a chicken house business. A $30,000 generator and two HVAC units, copper lines and household wiring were taken during the theft at 541 Bucks Pocket Road on Sept. 11.

A residence on the property had been stripped of all of its electrical wiring.

Gault said the generator was recovered.

The loss was estimated at $260,000.

In the Cleveland cases, Bradley County detectives have issued a warrant for Danny Wayne Cronan, 45, who allegedly took an HVAC unit from Sports Pizza. Cronan and his alleged accomplice, Marvin Bingham, 30, were taken into custody this week.

The two men are charged with three counts of theft over $10,000 and two counts of theft over $1,000 involving the city cases, and Cronan is also charged with theft over $10,000 in the county case.

On Aug. 24, police responded to Georgetown Medical Clinic where eight HVAC units had been stripped from the property.

James Everhart reported Sept. 10 that a 10-ton capacity HVAC unit had been taken from a building he owned on Baldwin Street.

According to an affidavit filed by detectives, a witness was able to provide information about the vehicle. Three other HVAC units were also reported stolen from Cleveland Community Church on Sept. 5 and another was taken from a Blythe Avenue business on Sept. 10.

CPD detectives Matt Jenkins and Bill Parks established the two men as suspects and attempted to tie them to the thefts in which an estimated $85,000 in HVAC units had been stolen.

Lloyd Rogers also reported three units taken from his Keith Street business.

According to the report, Detectives Daniel Gibbs and Brian Pritchard responded to the scene and observed compressor oil on the ground.

They went to a location on Chippewah Avenue where they found the truck suspected to have been used in the thefts.

According to reports, they found oil in the bed of the truck which appeared to have been the same as that found at the scene of the Keith Street theft .

Tire tracks were also evident at the scene of the Keith Street theft, and they reportedly matched the tires on the pickup truck, according to Jenkins’ report.

The truck was seized by CPD.

As their investigations continued, detectives learned the suspects were scrapping the various metals and selling them to a local dealer.

Officials used video security footage which reportedly showed the men delivering the metals to the scrap facility, according to the report.

Keith was released after making a court appearance and posting a $25,000 bond.

The three other men remain in custody at the Bradley County Jail.