Couple Face Charges After Breaking Into Quarantined Meth House

Billy Jean Smart, Robert Alder Due In Sessions Court Thursday

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - by Judy Frank

A 27-year-old man who allegedly broke into a house quarantined as a meth lab to retrieve his Playstation and other belongings is scheduled to explain himself to a Hamilton County judge Thursday morning.

Exactly how Robert Lee Alder’s possessions wound up in the house at 3609 Forest Highland Drive is not detailed in court documents. However, an arrest report filed in April by Chattanooga Police officers indicates that Alder lived at that address.

The house is one of three in Hamilton County that have been quarantined as meth labs so far this year.

The other two properties are located at 4208 E. 12th Ave. and 3205 E. Through St.

Under Tennessee law, which took effect in March 2005, police are empowered to quarantine former meth labs. The designation must be recorded on the deeds to the properties, which must remain vacant – and cannot be sold – as long as the quarantines remain in effect.

Alder was not alone when he broke into the Forest Highland Drive house, according to police reports which indicate he was accompanied by 24-year-old Billie Jean Smart.

The reports indicate that officers investigating the incident spoke with Shannon Morrison and she “advised that Robert Lee Adler . . . would know more about it . . . (and) that both Mr. Robert Lee Adler and Ms. Billie J. Smart had gone to get their stuff from the house at 3609 Forest Highland Drive.”

When police entered the couple’s room, they reported, they spotted a Playstation and a stack of games that were supposed to be at the quarantined property.

Adler “then advised both him and Ms. Smart had gone over there and cleaned his stuff out,” according to the police report.

Both Alder and Smart have extensive arrest records here and in neighboring counties. On July 5, for example, Sessions Court Judge Ron Durby – the judge who is also scheduled to hear the “violation of quarantine” charges against the pair – bound over several meth-related charges against them to the grand jury.

The three houses quarantined this year in Hamilton County because they had been used as meth labs are just the tip of a meth-related iceberg, according to the Registry of Properties under Order of Quarantine maintained by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
 
According to the TDEC Registry, Hamilton County has a total of 39 quarantined properties – some of which have been so listed since 2006. Owners, regardless of whether they had anything to do with the meth labs, are responsible for the cost of remediation, which can run into tens of thousands of dollars.
 
In some cases, individuals have purchased homes and learned later that they had been used as meth labs. The problem is particularly prevalent in foreclosed homes, according to authorities, where potential buyers do not have access to the histories of the properties they are buying.
 
Neighboring counties also are not immune from the growing problem. Properties on the TDEC Registry include:
 
36 in Bradley County.
 
One, located at 20 Blaylock Lane in Palmer, in Grundy County.
 
Eight in Marion County.
 
One, located at 338 W. Cartwright cut through in Whitwell, in Sequatchie County.
 
More information on the locations of quarantined properties in Tennessee can be obtained at www.tn.gov/environment/dor/pdf/quarantined.pdf.


Case Of Drug Ring Involving Child Sent To Grand Jury

Felony drug charges against four individuals who admitted to involving a child in their alleged crimes were bound over to a grand jury after a Tuesday hearing. The alleged incidents took place back in February.  According to police, narcotics detectives were watching when a green jeep pulled into the parking lot of an apartment complex on East Brainerd Road. The ... (click for more)

Arrest Made After String Of Auto Burglaries Near Munro Road

A Chattanooga man was arrested and charged with a string of auto burglaries in the Munro Road area. Witnesses said they saw three men in a white Volvo drive up and attempt to break into a vehicle in a driveway on the street.  When police located the suspect car, they also found multiple stolen items, including a gun. They also found 21-year-old Steven Coburn. According ... (click for more)

Vote No On Health Insurance Changes Affecting County Teachers

Our Hamilton County School Board will vote on insurance changes effecting both active employees and retirees, who are not on Medicare at this time.  HCEA strongly objects to changes being made at this time and urges a “No” vote.  Insurance had been frozen three years by negotiations.  Since the Educators Professional Negotiations Act was nullified by the 2011 Legislature, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Al Sharpton’s Wise Remarks

I’ll admit I paid little more than scant attention to the Monday funeral of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old who was shot and killed by police bullets in Ferguson, Mo., after he allegedly was involved in strong-armed robbery. There are too many tawdry details and, in my way of thinking, there is nothing under God’s sun, absolutely nothing, that gives others the right to riot, burn ... (click for more)

After String Of Injuries, Ailments Vols' Maggitt Ready To Play

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Come Sunday ,  it will have been 659 days since Curt Maggitt played a snap in a college football game, but that's not what he's concerned about. "It's four days from now," Maggitt said Wednesday. "That's what's most important. It's going to be emotional for sure. It's been a real long time since I've been out there and ran through the `T' actually suited ... (click for more)

Fulghum, Walker Power Soddy-Daisy Past Cleveland

Soddy-Daisy’s Lady Trojans shook off an up-and-down performance in last weekend’s Early Bird tournament at Oak Ridge and throttled Cleveland, 3-0, in a District 5-AAA volleyball match Tuesday at Soddy-Daisy High School. The Lady Trojans (8-4, 2-1) swept the match with set scores of 25-18, 25-22 and 25-15. Abby Walker and Karigan Fulghum combined for 30 digs and 18 kills to ... (click for more)