COCKE COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) — The Cocke County Sheriff’s Office responded to a burglary call on September 4 that led to the discovery of a “chop shop” and charges for two suspects.
According to a release from the sheriff’s office, Sheriff Armondo Fontes and Deputy Wesley Keys responded to a burglary call in the Point Pleasant Community on Wednesday. A victim told investigators his Ford tractor and several other items were missing.
A report said investigators found oil tracks on the road and followed them to the residence of Mark Hogate, 48.
Investigators said they saw, what appeared to be, items described by the victim at the residence.
According to the release, investigators spoke to Hogate and another suspect, Eric Kitchen, 33. The sheriff’s office said Hogate later admitted to stealing the tractor and claimed Kitchen had driven him to the area where the theft took place.
The sheriff’s office said Hogate admitted to damaging the victim’s building.
After obtaining written permission, the sheriff’s office said they searched Hogate’s residence and found a loaded .40 caliber pistol in a recliner. They also claimed they found a multitude of Harley Davidson parts, frames “and equipment consistent with being a chop shop.”
The sheriff’s office said they found other items belonging to a victim in Hamblen County.
Hogate was charged with theft over $10,000 and vandalism. He is being held in the Cocke County Jail on a $10,000 bond.
Kitchen was charged with accessory after the fact and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon.
The sheriff’s office said evidence will be presented to a grand jury against Hogate for running a chop shop.