TBI Arrests Sparta Deputy On Allegations Of Theft And Tampering With Evidence

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Connor Etzler Wardlaw
Connor Etzler Wardlaw

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation arrested a former deputy after a nine-month investigation into allegations of theft and tampering with evidence against Connor Etzler Wardlaw, 34, of Sparta, Tn.

On June 20, 2013, at the request of the District Attorney General Lisa Zavogiannis, TBI began an investigation along with the District Attorney General’s office. From June 2011 to May 2013, the investigation revealed that Wardlaw made numerous arrests for drug related offenses during which he seized drug evidence, monies, personal property and vehicles in accordance with police procedure and Tennessee forfeiture laws. 

However, on many occasions, Wardlaw would return seized property to the owners in exchange for a cash donation to the Van Buren County drug fund. Although the contributions were made by citizens, those funds were not entered into the county drug fund. Wardlaw withdrew money from the drug fund and documentation for the money expended was absent. 

Additionally, further investigation had shown that evidence was removed by Wardlaw or missing. When Wardlaw terminated his employment with the sheriff’s office, various official documents and investigative case files disappeared.

On Wednesday morning, a Van Buren Grand Jury returned indictments for the following charges:

•              Theft under $500
•              Theft over $500
•              Theft over $1,000
•              Official Misconduct
•              Tampering with Evidence
•              Official Oppression
•              Destruction of Public Records

On Wednesday afternoon, Wardlaw was taken into custody at his residence in Sparta without incident by members of the District Attorney’s office and TBI Agents. The White County Sheriff’s Office transported Wardlaw to the Van Buren County jail and he has a $175,000.00 bond. This investigation is active and ongoing.


Police Chief Fletcher Announces Picks For Top Leadership

Police Chief Fred Fletcher Wednesday made his picks for top leadership, releasing the names of 15 newly promoted individuals from within the Chattanooga Police Department. This announcement comes several weeks after Chief Fletcher was appointed.  “I am honored to announce today’s promotions," said Chief Fletcher.  "Together these individuals have served our community ... (click for more)

Corker Says Probe To Point Directly At Russia

Appearing on MSNBC’s Daily Rundown on Wednesday to discuss the missile strike on Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine, Senator Bob Corker said the investigation is “going to point directly at Russia.” He said there is bipartisan support for the U.S. “to act alone without Europe” in expanding existing sanctions against significant Russian entities in the energy, financial ... (click for more)

The Truth From Weston’s Sister - And Response (3)

I try not to read the negative articles and opinions about my older brother. Growing up around politics, I learned a long time ago that thick skin is not only necessary, it’s paramount. But this time, the lies and the rumors and the inaccurate information has gone too far. It’s too ridiculous for me to ignore. So let’s clear a few things up: Weston and I do not “come ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Say It Ain't So, Larry Joe!

Larry Joe Wheelon, the tainted horse trainer who was charged with 18 counts of aggravated animal cruelty when his barn was raided in April of 2013 and some animals were sored so badly that they could barely walk, finally went to a court hearing in Blount County on Wednesday and his steps toward Judge Tammy Harrington’s bench were decidedly heavy. My goodness, yours would have been ... (click for more)

Mocs Picked First In SoCon Polls

The Chattanooga Mocs football team is the pick of litter in the Southern Conference. Coming off its first league title since 1984, the SoCon coaches and media deemed the Mocs the team to beat in 2014.   “It means we have good players,” Head Coach  Russ Huesman  said. “There is a long way to go from now until late November (when the regular season ends). ... (click for more)

Soddy-Daisy's Wright Commits To MTSU Baseball

Soddy-Daisy’s Andy Wright, a rising senior and dual-threat player, has made a non-binding verbal commitment to play baseball at Middle Tennessee State University. Wright, a pitcher/third baseman, chose the Conference USA Blue Raiders over Belmont, Air Force, Navy, UT-Martin and Carson-Newman. “I’m glad to get this (decision) off my back so I can enjoy my senior year,” Wright ... (click for more)