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.


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest booking report from Hamilton County: AUSTIN, RYAN BISHOP  121 ALBANY STEET CHATTANOOGA, 37421  Age at Arrest: 34 years old Arresting Agency: East Ridge FUGITIVE (ARREST FOR CRIME IN WALKER CO, GA) --- BAKER, DONALD SCOTT  2012 LAURA STREET CHATTANOOGA, 37406  Age at Arrest: 48 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DOMESTIC ... (click for more)

Just 4,380 Have Voted In The City Election After 9 Days Of Early Voting

Just 4,380 Chattanooga voters have cast ballots after nine days of early voting leading up to the March 7 city election. One day just 48 people showed up at the Northgate voting site. Only 88 went to the most popular early voting site - the election office off Amnicola Highway the same day. The high turnout thus far has been 199 at the election office on Tuesday. The ... (click for more)

CVB Should Share Financials With The Home Folks

The recent debate over the Convention and Visitor's Bureau's funding and budget has gotten ugly. A Hamilton County commissioner has asked questions and made comments about the CVB. The director of the CVB has organized a campaign to dismiss the commissioner's questions and comments. The children on the playground are choosing sides and nothing useful seems to be happening. It's ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Trump's Latest Delight

I was quite amused this week when Donald Trump’s administration “locked out” several news organizations from the daily press briefings at the White House. The reason I loved it because in the 50 years I have spent in the news business, I have been locked out of press conferences, too. To be truthful, I am a longtime veteran of a bunch of “you versus me” squabbles and, if I do say, ... (click for more)

McCallie Advances To D-II Final Four With 67-48 Win

The third time wasn’t the charm for the Pope John Paul II Knights. Playing at McCallie in the quarterfinal round of the Division II state basketball tournament Saturday night, the Knights played better than they had the previous two times they met, but the result was the same as McCallie advanced to the Final Four with a 67-48 victory. McCallie, snipping a three-game losing ... (click for more)

'Canes Roll Past Stone Memorial 62-38 In Region 3-3A Action

East Hamilton was able to shake off a devastating 30-point loss to Cleveland in the District 5-3A championship game earlier in the week and Stone Memorial was victimized by the Hurricanes’ big bounce-back. East Hamilton held the visitors scoreless in the first quarter and went on to shellack the Panthers 62-38 in a history-making victory on its home court Saturday night. ... (click for more)