Two Jailed For Stealing From House Set For Tax Sale

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  • Two arrested for stealing from home set for tax sale
  • Suspect’s sister says pair was cleaning out the house to help neighborhood
  • Both face felony burglary and theft charges

(Memphis)  Memphis police and a suspect’s sister are telling two different stories about what happened outside a North Memphis home Thursday. 

Officers say it was felony theft and burglary. 

But Ashley Williams who lives next door says the pair was just trying to clean up the neighborhood.

Friday a pile of rain-soaked furniture sat in the driveway of 3374 Hardin Avenue.

It’s the story of how that furniture got there that has two men sitting in jail. 

“They went over there to clean out the house,” explained Williams. 

Police say Williams’ brother, 38 year old Alphonso Lewis and 58 year old Billy Littlejohn did just that.  Officers say the pair went into the abandoned home and moved what was left inside, out of the house.

A neighbor called police and reported prowlers.  When officers arrived they say Lewis was inside the house, and Littlejohn was across the street pulling a stolen dresser into the home where he lives.

Williams insists it wasn’t what it looked like.  She says the pair was preparing board up the home in an effort to get rid of rats in the neighborhood.

“They’ve just taken over here,” Williams said.  “It’s ridiculous.”

The duplex is owned by Shelby County.  It’s set for tax sale.

Neighbors say the home has been empty for years.

Records show at least 11 code complaints dating back to 1995.

“We’ve been calling people to come out and board up the house,” insisted Williams.  “No one has come out.” 

She admits her brother probably should have gotten written permission before taking on the project.  She also said she wasn’t sure why Littlejohn was moving furniture out of the vacant house and into his.

With the pair now facing felony charges, Williams says she’s worried what she believes was a good deed, could have a very bad ending.

“It would have been understandable if he would have gotten a citation or whatever telling him no, it’s not okay to go over there, but for him to get locked up for two felony charges,  I don’t feel that’s right.”

Shelby County court records show neither Lewis nor Littlejohn have been in trouble in the last ten years.

Both men are scheduled to be in court next week.