After mail thefts had been reported in the area, an Anderson County deputy found about 150 pieces of U.S. mail from more than 40 different addresses in a pickup that he searched on Beets Valley Road on Wednesday, an incident report said.
The 32-year-old woman who was arrested in the case could now face federal charges, according to the incident report, which was from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department.
Deputy Adam Warren responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle, a red 1989 Chevrolet Silverado pickup partially parked in the road on Beets Valley Road, at about 8 a.m. Wednesday. Beets Valley Road is west of Lake City Highway (US 25W) between Clinton and Rocky Top (the former Lake City).
As he approached the truck, Warren said he noticed several pieces of mail in the grass close to the driver’s side door. He saw a female, later identified as Tina May Carroll, asleep behind the wheel of the truck with the keys in the ignition, according to the incident report.
He opened the door, and Carroll woke up after he knocked on the back window, the report said.
“There was a large amount of U.S. mail in her lap,” Warren said.
The deputy said he was aware of recent mail thefts in the area, and he detained Carroll while he investigated. Carroll was advised of her Miranda rights, and she agreed to a search of the pickup, Warren said.
“When I asked her about the mail, she stated that she did get mail from mailboxes on Beets Valley Road in order to start a fire because she was cold,” Warren said in the incident report.
When she was asked about recreational drug use, Carroll said she uses methamphetamine, Warren said.
She did not have a valid driver’s license, according to the report, and she was not able to provide proof of insurance at the time of the investigation.
Warren said the roughly 150 pieces of mail in the pickup truck came from more than 40 different addresses in Clinton, Rocky Top, and Caryville. Carroll has an address listed on Old Lake City Highway.
Besides the mail, other items found in the pickup were a silver case with three syringes with needles and a cut straw, a pill bottle with 11.5 Quillichew tablets (a Schedule 2 narcotic), an Android tablet with keyboard, and an Amazon Echo Dot, Warren said. There was also a checkbook belonging to a victim named in the report, and a letter from Discover Card addressed to another victim, the wife of the first victim. The couple had been expecting the checkbooks for about two weeks, the report said.
A few hours later, just after noon Wednesday, Anderson County dispatchers received a call saying there was mail all over the road on Huckleberry Lane, Warren said. That road is near Norris Dam State Park, between Norris and Rocky Top.
“I responded and collected a large amount of mail off the roadway and nearby ditch,” Warren said.
A postmaster was contacted, and Postal Inspector Wallace Bowden responded to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department to take possession of all the other mail, Warren said.
“He will be seeking federal charges in those cases,” Warren said of Bowden.
Carroll is already facing state charges, which have been filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Clinton. Those charges include property theft between $0 and $1,000; possession of drug paraphernalia; simple possession; littering; driving without a license; and no proof of insurance.
Carroll remained jailed in the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton on Thursday night.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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