A Florida man was arrested on suspicion of theft after stopping at the Coffee County Scales Complex in Manchester on Friday morning.
Oreste Garcia, 51, of Orlando, Fla., was taken into custody and charged with felony theft of property, refusal for drug inspection and evading arrest. Garcia, a federal parolee out of Florida, was booked at the Coffee County Jail. His bond is listed at $506,000.
Trooper Corey Stuart, a recent graduate of the Tennessee Highway Patrol Cadet School, stopped the Freightliner tractor trailer as it traveled through the Coffee County Scales Complex at approximately 2:40 a.
m. Friday morning. He requested the driver, Oreste Garcia’s, log book and planned to conduct a Level III inspection after noticing several suspicious indicators.
As Garcia went to retrieve the log book, he fled on foot into the surrounding woods along the interstate. Trooper Stuart discovered the suspect was missing and contacted nearby state troopers Charlie Harrris and Jason Boles, as well as the Manchester Police Department and Coffee County Sheriff’s Department for assistance. Garcia was apprehended by Coffee County authorities on Interstate 24 eastbound near mile marker 117, approximately one mile from the scales complex.
Trooper Stuart then continued his investigation, inspecting the trailer and discovering 18 pallets of cell phones. Further investigation and assistance by CargoNet representative Keith Lewis revealed that the trailer was reported stolen out of Jeffersonville, Ind. The estimated value of both the cargo and trailer is approximately $200,000.
“Cargo theft is a growing concern in Tennessee and its surround states. I’m proud of the work of our troopers that disrupted this crime, and grateful for our partnerships with local law enforcement authorities that assisted in the case,” THP Chattanooga District Captain David McGill said.
THP seized the trailer in accordance with state law. The investigation is ongoing.