December 2005 Officers of the Month

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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December 2005 Officers of the Month

Posted: 02/09/2005
Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam and Police Chief Sterling Owen today awarded the December Officer of the Month Award to Officer Todd Hardin, Officer Charles Sands, and Officer Brian Bush for their apprehension of two counterfeiting suspects. Officer Hardin has been with the department since August 1998. Officer Sands and Officer Bush have been with KPD since December 1998.

Chief Owen said that on December 24, 2004, Officers Hardin and Sands responded to Dillard's at West Town Mall to investigate the use of counterfeit $50.00 bills. The officers took into custody two individuals for questioning about the bogus bills. The officers' investigation revealed the two suspects had passed the phony money at Dillard's along with several other stores throughout the mall in addition to other retail outlets throughout the Knoxville area. Receipts recovered from the suspects indicated the two would purchase items with the counterfeit bills then return the items for cash.

An envelope with five counterfeit $50.00 bills whose serial numbers matched those used in the mall for purchases were recovered from the suspects. Both suspects, Leuellen Cobb (DOB 08/24/70) and Keithan Hunter (DOB 11-01-74), were charged with criminal simulation.

On December 27, Officers Hardin, Sands, and Bush along with two Secret Service agents executed a search warrant at the suspect's residence located at 522 S. Chestnut Street. Officer Sands located a loaded .22 caliber handgun in the attic while looking for evidence related to the counterfeit bills. The officers also recovered a lever action 30/30 scoped rifle and a .357 Ruger handgun that had been stolen. Several bags containing brand-new clothes with the price tags still attached were also located.

In the suspect's bedroom the officers discovered cocaine, ecstasy, and marijuana along with scales and repackaging materials for the illegal drugs. Two loaded handguns were also found in the bedroom. Twenty-eight counterfeit $50.00 bills were found in the bedroom along with a Dell laptop computer that had been stolen from a business in South Knoxville.

Both suspects, who are convicted felons, could face Federal charges as the investigation continues.

Chief Owen said, "The recovery of the guns, the narcotics, the computer, and the merchandise would not have occurred without the extensive follow up on the part of these officers. Officer Hardin even came in on two of his days off in order to prepare and execute the search warrant."

Mayor Haslam said, "These officers could have been satisfied with the work they had done on the initial arrest, but instead were dedicated enough to keep digging. As a result, these individuals are now facing the possibility of extended jail time."

The officers will receive a signed certificate from the Mayor and Chief along with a free dinner from Ruby Tuesday Restaurants.