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Mountain City man allegedly steals Samaritan’s Purse vehicle

By Kayla Lasure
Watauga Democrat
[email protected]

BOONE — After allegedly stealing a vehicle from Samaritan’s Purse in Boone on Oct. 2, a Mountain City, Tenn., man remains in custody in Johnson County as of Oct. 15. According to a Watauga County Sheriff’s Office shift report, a larceny report was taken at Samaritan’s Purse for a stolen vehicle. Video footage of the incident reportedly showed a person wearing a clown mask as he allegedly stole a Honda Element belonging to Samaritan’s Purse.

Johnson County Sheriff’s Office (Tenn.) Investigator Shawn Brown said the vehicle was reportedly taken around 5 a.m. and found around 1:30 p.m. that same day. The WCSO shift report states that the vehicle was equipped with GPS and showed its location as being in Mountain City, Tenn. JCSO officials located the vehicle along with the suspect seated in the driver’s seat, holding the keys and in possession of the clown mask.

Brown said 26-year-old Michael A. Arnett, of Hubert Taylor Road, Mountain City, Tenn., was arrested and charged with possession of stolen property over $10,000. WCSO Major Kelly Redmon said Arnett faces charges in Watauga including felony breaking and entering, felony larceny of a motor vehicle and misdemeanor damage to property. 

These charges were filed on Oct. 5 after WCSO Detective William Watson conducted an interview with Arnett at JCSO. Redmon said that Watson also determined during the interview that Arnett had allegedly broken into a building owned by Samaritan’s Purse as well.