Crime, Vagrancy, Homelessness Dominate Bristol

by Lewis Loflin

  
  

This was a recent headline with the Bristol Herald Courier Nov. 24, 2014 - the very thing I've warned about for years and the Cities of Bristol Virginia-Tennessee are being forced to address. Let me summarize where our tax dollars in Bristol have went to just in the last two years:

  • $100 million plus to underwrite a shopping complex for Cabela's
  • $30 million to underwrite a Bass Pro Shop
  • $2-$3 million to underwrite a new hotel called the Sessions still not built.
  • $12 million for a country music museum still receiving government grants to stay afloat.
  • $500,000 for a failed computer store.
  • $25,000 for an ice cream stand.

The other results of all of this great central planning and more like this across the region? People are being robbed in parking lots for their prescriptions and an explosion of break ins and armed robberies. And pharmacies are on alert for more potential robberies as drug addicts are tearing the place apart - there's no drug treatment available.

Local jails are bursting. In fact a television series Southern Justice features Bristol and Sullivan County.

But what is the official explanation for these problems in downtown and I kid you not, to quote,

The region's giving spirit and abundance of programs to aid the indigent 'draw' many vagrants here...The (police) chiefs urged those in attendance to be vigilant and willing to call the police if they see or suspect a problem.

Then they complained,

"The police can't be everywhere all the time. But if there is a problem, call us. We will be here as quickly as we can and, even if we don't catch the person, we've created a record that helps us allocate resources...It's not been a huge problem, but more of a nuisance. It's the way they [vagrants] approach people and it's got people concerned."

Getting robbed is a "nuisance"? They are claiming the lack of funds prevents proper policing of downtown and advocate cheap solutions such as surveillance cameras. Bristol Virginia recently raised property taxes to pay for Cabela's but has nothing left for schools or police.



On Saturday, May 28, 2016, officers of the Johnson City Police Department arrested William H. Austin, 30 years of age, 800 Swadley Rd Apt 200, Johnson City, TN, on a charge of aggravated robbery and possession of a controlled substance. The arrest was a result of an investigation of a reported robbery at 705 East Fairview Avenue where cash was stolen from a female victim and Austin displayed a cutting instrument. Austin was arrested and transported to the Washington County Detention Center and placed under a $51,000.00 bond. Arraignment is set for Tuesday, May 31, 2016, in Washington County General Sessions Court at 1:30 pm.
On 05/24/16, the Johnson City Police Department arrested Frederick V. Canonizado (43 yrs old, 1908 Old State Route 34 Telford) and charged him with Stolen Property (Receiving or Concealing) over $10,000. A 2015 Nissan Altima was stolen from Carmike Cinemas, 1805 N Roan St, on 05/15/16. The vehicle was involved in a crash in the early morning hours of 05/24/16. Frederick Canonizado was found to be involved in the crash. The subsequent investigation showed that Mr. Canonizado was driving the vehicle when it crashed. Mr. Canonizado is being held in the Washington County Detention Center in lieu of a $10,000 bond. He is scheduled for Arraignment in General Sessions Court on 05/25/16 at 1:30 pm.
Wendy Langston (1209 Division St. 35 years old) and charged her with arson.

The arrest comes as a result of an investigation into a fire that occurred to an out building, at a home, in the 1300 block of Spring St. in the early morning hours of 5/17/16; wherein, it is believed Langston started the fire that heavily damaged the property.

Langston was served with this warrant at the Washington County Detention Center, where she is currently being held on separate charges. In regards to the arson, Langston is being held in lieu of a $10,000 bond. Arraignment is set for 1:30 p.m. on 5/19/16 in Washington County General Sessions Court.
On 05-20-16, at 1:44 a.m., officers of the Johnson City Police Department responded to the RoadRunner Market, 900 Sunset Dr., in reference to a robbery. The clerk of the market reported to 911 that a white female, later identified as 37 yr old Jennifer Ledford, 1901 Knob Creek Rd, Apt 18, had just robbed the store and was still in the lot in a black 4 door coupe. In addition, the clerk later reported that Ms. Ledford had pumped gas then stole several items from the store, to include an undisclosed amount of cash from the register. Ms. Ledford was reported to be very threatening in her manner, placing the clerk in fear, as she went behind the counter in order to steal the money from the register.

Upon arrival at the scene, an officer observed the suspect vehicle in the parking lot of the RoadRunner Market, occupied by a lone female. As the officer attempted to make contact with the female, she sped away, traveling on Sunset toward N. Roan St. After a brief pursuit, the vehicle was found crashed on E. Lakeview Dr., after a resident reported to 911 that a black car was in his yard. Officers then responded to this location and found that Ms. Ledford had pushed the homeowner, breaking his phone, then ran on foot.

She was found and arrested a short distance away. Medical personnel were called to the scene to check the condition of Ms. Ledford. Ms. Ledford then spat on a member of the Johnson City Fire Department, who was attempting to care for her. She was then taken to the Johnson City Medical Center for medical clearance before being transported to the Washington County Detention Center. The Tennessee Highway Patrol was called to E. Lakeview Dr. to work the crash and will be placing additional driving charges on Ms. Ledford at a later time.

Jennifer Ledford was charged with Robbery, Felony Evading Arrest, Aggravated Assault, Simple Assault, and Vandalism under $500. She is currently being held in the Washington County Detention Center under bonds totaling $62,000. An arraignment is scheduled in Washington County General Sessions Court for 05-20-16, 10:30 a.m.