Man charged with stealing items from coronavirus testing site at Tiger Lane

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A coronavirus testing site near the Liberty Bowl became the center of an investigation overnight after a reported burglary.

According to police, officers were paroling near the Pipkin Building when they saw a man named Percy Johnson walking away carrying a large black garbage bag. When they asked him why he was there, the man said he was picking up cans but refused to stop when officers asked him to do so.

The man then dropped the bag, ran to a metal gate leading into the Liberty Bowl and crawled underneath it trying to evade police. He was taken into custody a short time later.

Inside the dropped bag officers said they found medical items including gloves, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes and a COVID-19 test kit.

The door to the Pipkin Building was also found open and the items in that bag matched the items inside the testing site.

People who lived in the neighborhood were surprised to hear what happened and say they can’t figure out why someone would steal a test.

“It’s just not right.”

“How can they test? If they have taken the test they do not have equipment to test it.”

Johnson has a lengthy criminal history.

In 2017 police say he was caught red handed with a garbage bag full of roller derby shirts and other items taken from the Pipkin Building by the Liberty Bowl. Those charges were dropped, but he has spent some time in jail for other business burglaries.

In 2007, one affidavit identified Johnson as a “known burglar to police.”

Johnson was charged with burglary and theft in this latest case.

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