Crimetracker: Rutledge man wanted by police

RUTLEDGE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The face of Thomas Coffey, 24, has been posted all over Grainger County. He's wanted for violation of probation, and police believe he's linked to multiple burglaries in the area.

"Mr. Coffey is basically a thorn in our side. We can connect the burglaries and thefts (of last year) within the city to either him or his brother or others he's known to associate with," said Rutledge Police Chief Richard McGinnis.

Authorities said several businesses, homes and even an elementary school has been hit over the past few months. There were several AC units taken from Rutledge Elementary School earlier this year.

At Rutledge Elementary School theives took several AC units. Principal Tim Collins said the theft caused more than a class disruption. It left students without heat, and cost the district more then $60,000.

"It's a very large amount of money for a small school system like Grainger County," Collins said.

The thieves appear to have wanted copper to make some quick cash, and according to police, Coffey may have been involved.

"We think he's involved in it because his brother has taken large quantities of copper to these metal places and has sold it. Quantities in excess of 100 pounds that we know he couldn't do alone. That's why we believe Thomas Coffey is involved," McGinnis said.

Police already arrested a few suspects in connection to the burglaries.

Anyone with any information about Coffey is asked to call authorities: 865-828-3337

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