By Rachel Dove
BREEDEN - A vehicle reported stolen from a driveway on the Marrowbone side of Jennies Creek Mountain was found stripped and burned on Pat’s Branch in Breeden, but the undestroyed evidence taken from the car adds a definite twist to this arrest story.
On Jan. 20, a 1997 Ford Escort, which was the only means of transportation for the family, was reported stolen from the driveway of the home of James and Sharon Muncy. The crime was reported and Mingo County Sheriff’s Department Cpl. Phillip Muncy and Sgt. Arthur Farra responded and began the search for the missing vehicle. While speaking with the owners, Sharon told the officers that the only item of concern for her was the Bible that was inside the car at the time it was stolen.
Surveillance footage from a nearby location greatly assisted in the investigation, and produced evidence that a Maroon-colored Chevrolet Trailblazer being operated by Greg Meade of Breeden pulled up to the stolen vehicle the night the theft took place. The video allegedly showed Arlon Hodge III leave the SUV, break the glass out of the passenger side of the car, get inside, hot-wire it the car and flee the scene.
The men allegedly took the car to a remote location at Breeden known as Pat’s Branch and stripped the vehicle of anything of value or that could be sold as salvage, then burned what was left. It seems, however, that the suspects’ conscience may have gotten the best of them when it came to the Bible they allegedly found lying on the seat, and they could not bring themselves to burn it. Instead, Meade allegedly took the Bible from the scene and gave it to his significant other after he arrived home.
After viewing the video recording of the crime and later locating what was left of the burned car, the deputies traveled to Meade’s residence to question him about the theft. After deputies located the Muncys’ Bible at the residence, the defendant allegedly confessed to the crime. The Bible was returned to its rightful owner, who was overjoyed to have it back in her possession.
Meade was placed under arrest and was arraigned before Mingo County Magistrate Pam Newsome on charges of grand larceny, conspiracy and arson. Hodge, who resides in Logan County, was expected to be picked up by the sheriff’s department there and will face the same charges. Both defendants will appear back in Mingo County for preliminary hearings in magistrate court.