A Caryville man suspected of robbing a Pilot Travel Center in east Knox County on Tuesday was arrested at a motel in Rocky Top in Anderson County on Wednesday, authorities said.
They said Walter John Meachum, 21, has been charged with aggravated robbery for an alleged armed robbery just before 2 a.m. Tuesday at the Pilot Travel Center at 1915 East Raccoon Valley Road in Knox County.
On Tuesday, the Knox County Sheriff’s Office said the suspect was armed with a black and silver weapon, according to the initial investigation. Authorities said the suspect fled west on Raccoon Valley Road in a silver convertible with a black top after receiving an undisclosed amount of money from the business. He was described as wearing a skull mask, black hooded jacket, white shirt, and blue jeans at the time of the robbery.
The Knox County Sheriff’s Office said Meachum was arrested early Wednesday morning at the Scottish Inn in Rocky Top by its Major Crimes Unit in conjunction with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, Campbell County Sheriff’s Office, and Rocky Top Police Department. As of Wednesday, Meachum was being held at the Roger D. Wilson Detention Facility on a $20,000 bond.
“Detectives are currently executing search warrants in connection with the investigation,” the KCSO said. “Meachum does not have a criminal history in Knox County.”
Meachum is also a suspect in a violent robbery last Thursday at Lee’s Food Market on General Carl Stiner Highway north of LaFollette in Campbell County, according to WBIR-TV and the Knoxville News Sentinel. During that robbery, a 10-year-old girl was allegedly shot in the leg.
The Campbell County Sheriff’s Office told WBIR that it may take a couple of days for charges to officially be filed against Meachum.
The News Sentinel reported that Meachum is also a suspect in several other similar crimes committed within the past two weeks across Campbell County.
Anderson County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Mark Lucas said he and Patrol Sergeant David Davis located a vehicle that was being sought in connection with the convenience store robberies in Knox and Campbell Counties just after midnight on Wednesday. But Lucas said the silver convertible was not the vehicle they were looking for; it had already been found.
“Sergeant Davis and I were looking for this car (the other car) at local motels in Anderson County,” Lucas said. “The vehicle was seen driving into the Scottish Inn on North Main Street in Rocky Top, and the occupants went into a room at the motel. Other deputies along with Police Chief Jim Shetterly and officers with the Rocky Top Police Department responded and secured the area in case the vehicle left. Detectives with the Knox and Campbell County Sheriff’s Departments were notified and came to the location as well.”
Lucas said they were able to make contact with the occupants of the motel room, and Meachum was taken into custody without incident by Knox County detectives and later transported to the Knox County Detention Facility. A search warrant for the motel room was obtained, and an investigation was conducted by Knox and Campbell County detectives, Lucas said.