By MARY RAINWATER
A Elkhart man remained in the Anderson County Jail Monday after stealing a vehicle from a church parking lot during a funeral on Saturday afternoon.
According to Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor, Michael Dean Davis, 43, of Elkhart was arrested at his home, a travel trailer, when a local constable tipped off deputies about the location of the stolen vehicle.
“A lady had arrived at First Baptist Church of Elkhart at about 2:50 p.m. to attend a funeral,” Taylor said. “When she came out at about 4:20 p.m., her vehicle, a 2009 Nissan Armada, was gone.”
ACSO deputies went into search mode for the vehicle, the sheriff said, and stayed in the area looking for the car. The owner had left the keys in the ignition of the vehicle.
“At about 6:45 p.m., we got a tip from (Precinct 1) Constable Larry Bennett to a certain location in Elkhart where he had seen a vehicle fitting the description,” Taylor said. “It was parked in front of a travel trailer with its hazard lights on.”
Deputies entered the trailer and saw the keys to the vehicle were located there. The suspect, Davis, was the only individual in the residence and was arrested at the scene.
Davis was arrested for theft of property, $20,000 to $100,000 and remained in jail on $4,500 bond set by Justice of the Peace Carl Davis.
Taylor wished to use this incident as a reminder to the general public about the importance of locking one’s vehicle and removing or securing items in the trunk of the car.
“A lot of people just don’t lock things — their vehicles, their homes or storage units and barns,” the sheriff said. “Even at your home, you should definitely lock your vehicle and never leave anything of value in the vehicle. Do not leave keys in your vehicle.
“This lady was lucky to get her vehicle back before it was seriously damaged,” he added. “Many times, car thieves will take the vehicle for a joy ride or use it for a while and then dump it or burn it.”
Taylor also encourages local residents to record serial numbers of electronics and other property and to take pictures of those items as well.
“We don’t live in Mayberry anymore,” the sheriff said. “Anything is fair game to thieves, especially if the opportunity is there for them.”
Taylor praised his deputies, the state trooper and Constable Bennett for their efforts in recovering the stolen vehicle.
“They did a great job,” he said. “I am glad things turned out the way they did.”
Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org