BYBEE—Two men have been arrested following an investigation that led to the discovery of a chop shop in the Point Pleasant community this week.
Cocke County Sheriff Armando Fontes reported that he and Deputy Wes Keys responded to a routine theft complaint on Point Pleasant Road Wednesday morning.
Upon arrival, deputies spoke with George Alshie, who said someone stole his blue Ford tractor and other items from his property.
After taking the report, deputies then observed oil tracks in the roadway. Deputies followed the tracks to a residence on Emanuel Road. Upon arrival, deputies found a tobacco setter along with two tanks that had been reported stolen.
At that time, deputies came in contact with the owner of the residence, identified as Mark Hogate, 48, and another male subject identified as Eric Kitchen, 30.
Both men were detained without incident and questioned about the items.
According to the report, Hogate admitted to Sheriff Fontes, Detective Captain Eric Ramsey and Deputy Keys that he stole Alshie’s tractor with Kitchen’s help.
Deputies then asked for consent to search Hogate’s property and Hogate consented to the search.
The search revealed a multitude of Harley Davidson motorcycle parts, frames, and equipment associated with a chop shop inside an outbuilding on the property, the press release stated. Several firearms were also found inside Hogate’s residence.
The Cocke County Sheriff’s Office contacted the Hamblen County Sheriff’s Office and learned the motorcycle parts were reported stolen from a male in Morristown.
There was also an industrial motor and pump that is used for farming found during the investigation that is believed to be stolen from Cocke County.
Both Kitchen and Hogate were arrested without further incident.
Hogate was charged with theft over $10,000 and vandalism. Kitchen was charged with accessory after the fact and possession of a handgun by a convicted felon.
More charges are pending.