Burglary Investigation Results In Award for Two Officers

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Burglary Investigation Results In Award for Two Officers

Posted: 03/26/2007
Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam and Police Chief Sterling Owen today named Officer Chris Jones and Officer Preston Whillock the February Officers for the Month for the Knoxville Police Department. Officer Jones has been with the department since November 2003. Officer Whillock graduated from the academy in December 2006.

Chief Owen said at approximately 10:11 p.m. on February 17, 2007, Officer Jones and Officer Whillock responded to a burglary call at a residence on Sandusky Road. The officers' investigation revealed that an unknown female had stopped at the residence earlier in the day and had asked to use the victim's restroom. The victim allowed the female to enter her residence. Once the suspect had left the residence, the victim left to attend a wedding ceremony. When the victim returned from the wedding she discovered that her home had been burglarized. Several hundred dollars worth of jewelry had been stolen from the residence.

After completing the initial investigation at the scene of the burglary, the officers began a neighborhood canvas. That canvas revealed that the suspect had gone to several other homes in the area and had attempted to use the same ruse in order to enter the homes. One of the victim's neighbors was able to provide a possible name for the suspect. That suspect, Laura Welch (DOB 09/03/72), had several outstanding warrants and was wanted for questioning in several robberies, burglaries, and thefts in both the city and county.

The officers obtained additional information that indicated the suspect had been frequenting a home on Bradshaw Garden Drive to purchase illegal narcotics. The officers were also able to identify the type of vehicle the suspect was driving. While conducting surveillance in the area of Bradshaw Garden Drive, the officers located the suspect in her vehicle. A traffic stop was conducted and the suspect was taken into custody.

Chief Owen said, "During the interview with the suspect, she confessed her involvement in an aggravated burglary, several thefts, and the fraudulent use of a credit card. She also provided information on where she was trading the stolen items for drugs."

Based on the information obtained during the interview with the suspect, Officers Jones and Whillock obtained a search warrant for the Bradshaw Garden Drive residence. On February 21, the officers executed the search warrant. As a result, three additional suspects were arrested and charged with eight additional charges. The officers also confiscated numerous items including 72 grams of cocaine, a loaded AK-47 assault rifle, a loaded .38 caliber pistol, various drug paraphernalia, surveillance equipment, numerous items of stolen property, and over $7,000.00 in cash.
Chief Owen said, "Due to the outstanding investigation by Officer Jones and Officer Whillock, the department was able to clear multiple burglary cases that have occurred over the past month. Their dedication, hard work, time, and outstanding effort while conducting this investigation resulted in the closure of a drug house which had a negative impact on the community."

Mayor Haslam said, "We appreciate the officers' commitment to make our community as safe as possible for all our citizens."

The officers will receive a signed certificate from the Mayor and Chief along with a free dinner from Bayou Bay Seafood House. 

Click here to view a listing of previous KPD award winners.