Bizarre theft case results in 3 arrests

March 25, 2014

By Rachel Dove


ELK CREEK - A Delbarton resident who allegedly possesses a strong dislike for the former sheriff of Mingo County and who holds a grudge against the late Eugene Crum, reported the theft of a sign he had posted on his property expressing support for the man who is accused of shooting Crum last April.

According to the criminal complaints filed by Mingo County Sheriff’s Department deputies M.J. Mounts and L.J. Thomas, Kasuandra Martin, 22, of Delbarton; Angel Ruth Bowen, 40, of Matewan; and Kara Toops, 18, of Delbarton, turned themselves in after being informed that arrest warrants for charges of petit larceny and conspiracy had been issued against them.

The incident report in this case states that the alleged victim, James Crabtree, had constructed two large signs out of a bed sheet with the words “Free Tennis Maynard” painted on them, and had attached them to a mobile home located on Elk Creek. The signs were placed in proximity to a home occupied by relatives of the late sheriff.

Court records show that Crabtree was one of several individuals indicted during the “Operation Zero Tolerance” drug sting that took place a couple of months before the former sheriff was shot and killed. He was charged with two counts of delivery of a Schedule III controlled substance (Hydrocodone), then entered a guilty plea to one of those counts in Mingo County Circuit Court. Crabtree was scheduled to be sentenced on March 20 but had the hearing postponed until April 17 to allow time to receive further medical care for health issues that have plagued him since before his arrest last year.

The arrest warrants against the three women state that they conspired to take away one of the handmade flags and took it to the Toops residence, where they are said to have burned it. The monetary value of the bed sheet was estimated to be somewhere in the $10 range.

Both charges against the defendants carry a possible sentence of no more than one year in the county jail or fines in the amount of $1,000 (conspiracy) and $2,500 (petit larceny), or both, which is left up to the discretion of the court.

The three women were arraigned before Mingo County Senior Status Magistrate Kim Blair and were issued bond in the amount of $1,000 each. They are scheduled to return to court after the first of next month for their preliminary hearings in this matter.