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DeKalb County sheriff: Attempted gasoline theft led to fire, more than $100,000 in damages

Officials say a vehicle ignited while one of the suspects was trying to drill a hole in the gas tank.

Posted: Aug 28, 2019 8:46 PM
Updated: Aug 29, 2019 4:57 PM

Two suspects are in custody after a fire at Mike’s Tire in Crossville.

Mike Cook has been the owner of Mike's Tire Shop since 1988.

Chris Ennis (left) and Drew Tidwell (right)

"We never had any trouble," Cook said.

That was until last Tuesday. The DeKalb County Sheriff's Office says the two were caught on surveillance camera trying to steal gasoline around 3:30 a.m. last Tuesday at Mike’s Tire on Highway 227. The sheriff's office says the vehicle ignited while one of the suspects was trying to drill a hole in the gas tank.

Cook says this all could have been much worse.

"If you see the video, I don't know how they lived to tell you the truth. It's bad, really bad," he explained.

Cook says the fire spread to four other cars, and three of them were totaled. It also damaged asphalt. In all, the damage reached approximately $150,000.

"It is what it is," Cook said.

Right now, Cook is working to make repairs so his shop can return to normal.

"We can come back. It's just going to take some time," Cook said.

Cook says it will take at least two months to finish repairs.

Chris Ennis, 21, of Gadsden was charged on Wednesday with criminal mischief first-degree and arson third-degree. He was already in custody on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance, attempting to elude, failure to comply and a probation violation.

The sheriff's office says Ennis led Crossville police and a DeKalb County deputy on a foot pursuit last Friday in an unrelated incident in Crossville.

Another suspect, 19-year-old Drew Tidwell of Albertville, was arrested Wednesday afternoon on charges of criminal mischief first-degree and arson third-degree.

“This also needs to be a lesson to our younger people. In this case, attempting to commit a small crime turned into a much larger one. These suspects will be facing major consequences for their actions,” Sheriff Nick Welden said.

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