Filings in Perry District Court this week detail the charges and circumstances involved in the arrests by Perry County Sheriff’s deputies of six individuals charged with allegedly being involved in looting of flood victims’ property.
According to court documents, the first case occurred on the afternoon of July 28, with flooding still ongoing, as Perry County Sheriff’s Deputy Paul Campbell was investigating an allegation of looting in the Lower Lost Creek area of Hazard.
Campbell wrote that the report led him to locate three individuals, ultimately identified as Sandra Kaye Neace, 47, of Cockrell Fork Road, Lost Creek, Timothy Neace, 49, of Lost Creek Road, Rowdy, and Jennifer Smith,, 41, of Higgins Street, Corbin.
Campbell located the two women standing near a 2004 Chevrolet Silverado which was stopped on Lost Creek Road because it had run out of gas. Timothy Neace, documents said, later showed up on scene. The citation said Campbell found mud-covered items, such as tires, tools and other outdoor equipment in the bed of the truck, which appeared to have been recently stolen.
Timothy Neace, the citation said, admitted to Campbell that the three, as a group, had stolen the items from Watts, a community devastated in the flooding.
“These individuals were looting in an area that was still flooded, had active landslides, had downed power lines and presented a danger to themselves by being in the area,” Campbell wrote.
All three were arrested on a charge of receiving stolen property, while Sandra Neace was also charged with first-degree possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) after the deputy found a change purse with her ID card in it which also contained five unidentified pills and a small amount of suspected methamphetamine.
The second case, court documents said, occurred on Aug. 1 when Perry County Sheriff’s Deputy Jimmy Perkins was patrolling Ky. 476 at Bulan in reference to a report of a woman in possession of looted items.
Perkins wrote that he observed a female, later identified as Jamie Gibson, 44, of Teepee Lane, Bulan, who matched the description and was in possession of several items believed to be stolen.
The citation said Gibson openly stated to the deputy that she had found the items, at which time Perkins advised her she was under arrest on a charge of theft. At that point, the citation said, Gibson gave three different statements as to how she came to be in possession of the items.
During a subsequent search, Perkins wrote, Gibson was found to be in possession of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana and a pill later identified as alprazolam.
Gibson was arrested on charges of theft, possession of marijuana and third-degree possession of a controlled substance (unspecified).
Just a short time after Gibson’s arrest, court documents said, Perry County Sheriff’s Deputy Christian Stidham was patrolling the same area — Ky. 476 at Bulan, when he saw a 2008 Hyundai Tuscon which had a “large abundance” of metal, later identified as a garage door, hanging out of the rear of the vehicle.
The driver, Melinda Gail Jent, 42, of White Oak Church Road, Morristown, Tenn., and the passenger, Burchel Combs, 52, of Georges Branch Road, Vicco, told the deputy they had picked up the garage door in a ditch nearby.
Both Jent and Combs were charged with theft.
All six were lodged in the Kentucky River Regional Jail.