TIPTON COUNTY, Tenn. — Two people were arrested for stealing as Tipton County continues to recover from a tornado outbreak that left one person dead and caused widespread damage.
Thursday temperatures took a plunge but steady, cold rain falling at a donation collection site in Covington didn’t phase dozens of young volunteers.
“We all just feel so blessed that it wasn’t us. We’re able to be here and help people that have lost everything,” said Tipton Christian Academy teacher Holly Wolfe.
While recovery continues at a fast pace, it seems a criminal element is also working overtime with the announcement of two more arrests. Jeremy Oliver, 44, of Brighton was caught during curfew cruising the lot of a Chevrolet dealership on Highway 51.
“He was taken into custody. Illegal narcotics were found on him as well as tools that can be used to take catalytic converters off of cars,” said Covington Police Chief Donna Turner.
Police say a fully charged battery and miscellaneous car parts were also found in Oliver’s vehicle.
He was charged with possession of schedule V with intent to distribute, resisting arrest, curfew violation, and criminal trespassing
Jerry Prater, 47, of Ripley is also accused of stealing air conditioners from Crestview Elementary School. He was charged with theft of property and looting on the construction site and property. Prater will appear in court next week.
Their arrests come days after a man and woman were accused of looting on Junior Drive near Robert Olden’s home.
“If you not coming out to help, don’t come out here and help yourself,” Olden said.
Covington’s Police Chief wants anyone arrested for looting held without bond.
Donations are headed to the hands of tornado victims, many of who will be starting from scratch. Tennessee State Senator Paul Rose, whose district includes Tipton County, was in Covington Thursday with a pledge from Nashville.
“In these times of tragedy, we also see the best of humanity,” Rose said. “And we’re looking at different avenues to assist with the relief for the citizens of Tennessee.”
Rose said a measure is expected to pass that will forgo state sales tax on construction materials related to rebuilding homes and businesses.