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City of Knoxville, Tennessee
Madeline Rogero, Mayor

For Immediate Release
Arrest of Copper Theft Suspects Earns Officer Award
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February 14, 2008 - Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam and Police Chief Sterling Owen today named Officer Eric Heitz the November Officer of the Month for the Knoxville Police Department. Officer Heitz has been with the department since March 2005.

Chief Owen said that on November 1, 2007 at approximately 9:00 p.m., witnesses reported seeing several individuals burglarizing a business on Jessamine Street.

Mayor Haslam, Officer Hietz, Chief OwenThe witnesses indicated that at least one suspect was inside the fence of the business and was shoving copper tubing through a gate to another suspect outside the fence. The witnesses confronted the suspects, but they fled through a wooded area toward First Creek. Officer Heitz initiated a search in the area for the suspects, but they were not located.

Chief Owen said, “While waiting for an employee of the business to arrive, Officer Heitz investigated a strange noise coming from underneath the First Creek viaduct. Heitz used a vine and tree limb to rappel down a 10 foot retaining wall where he located the three burglary suspects.”

The suspects were breaking the stolen copper tubing into shorter lengths so that it would fit into duffle bags. All three suspects were arrested and charged with Burglary, Vandalism, and Theft. The stolen copper was returned to the business owner.

Chief Owen said, “Officer Heitz maintained a high level of alertness even after it appeared the suspects had fled the area. His swift and tactical response resulted in the arrest of these suspects and the recovery of the stolen property.”

Mayor Haslam said, “We congratulate Officer Heitz on a job well done.”

Officer Heitz will receive a signed certificate from the mayor and chief.

Suspects arrested:

  • George Williamson, DOB 2-22-62
  • Glendola Taylor, DOB 8-17-57
  • Thomas Heinze, DOB 4-29-66
  • For Immediate Release
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