|More arrests in funeral money theft|
Three more individuals have been arrested in the Tuesday afternoon theft of more than $8,000 in Cocke County from a South Carolina man who was headed to Kentucky to bury his sister. Morris Croley, 76, Columbia, South Carolina, stopped at a West Highway 25/70, convenience store for gas, and dropped his wallet onto the ground. It contained $8,000 to pay for the funeral expense. Cocke County Detective Lt. Eric Ramsey says the wallet was picked up by Heather Worth, 40, who is classified as homeless. She allegedly took all but one dollar from the wallet and threw it onto the ground at the Croley vehicle. She was accompanied by Christy Nicole Williamson, 31, Thistle Way, Newport. Croley was told by a witness that Worth had picked up his wallet, however when he confronted her, Worth denied getting the cash. Authorities obtained the description of the car occupied by the two women, which was spotted a short time later on West Highway 25/70, operated by Derrick Neely, 24, Thompson Street, Newport. When he pulled off the roadway, Williamson ran into a wooded area. Officers, an hour after the theft, tracked Worth to the Jody Evans home on Evans Valley Way, Newport where she was taken into custody. Shopkeepers in Gatlinburg, shown photos of Williamson, said she had been in their business Tuesday evening. And at 7 am on Wednesday, Williamson was found at the Riverside Motor Lodge in Pigeon Forge. In the motel room also were Neely, Ralph Maybee, Jr, 31, Landover Way, White Pine, and Christian Faith Scheffers, 18, Lethco Lane, Newport, all of whom are charged with accessory after the fact of theft over $1,000. Worth and Williamson are charged with theft over $1,000. Lt. Ramsey said those arrested spent much of the stolen cash on the motel room, moonshine, drugs, food and clothes, and little of the cash has been recovered. And all of those in the motel room said they knew the money had been stolen. In addition, each had $100 bills on their person. Although two vehicles were originally seized with the intention of selling them to recoup some of the stolen money, Detective Ramsey said both have been returned to their rightful owners, who were not involved in the theft.