Man robbed while trying to buy car

By Jessica Stith of The Daily Times Staff

A Lenoir City man said he was robbed by suspects armed with crowbars and pipes while he was trying to buy a car on Feb. 9 in Rockford ­— and now one man is in custody on a robbery charge.

Christopher Dewayne Clabough, 22, Grade Road, Rockford, was charged Sunday by Blount County Sheriff’s deputies with robbery. He was being held in lieu of a $10,000 bond pending a 9 a.m. Feb. 20 hearing in Blount County General Sessions Court.

According to a Blount County Sheriff’s Office report, K-9 Deputy Tony Boring responded to 3627 Grade Road (Clabough’s residence) at 6:06 p.m. Feb. 9 on the report of a robbery. Upon arrival, he spoke to a 28-year-old Lenoir City man who said he and his friend, a 23-year-old Lenoir City man, went to the Grade Road residence to meet a female about a vehicle he was interested in buying.

Once at the residence, the 28-year-old man said the female said she needed to go inside the residence to get her purse. He said the woman invited him to follow her inside and he and his friend followed her in the back door, the report said.

“(The 28-year-old man) stated that as soon as they got inside, several subjects came out of various rooms with crowbars and pipes in their hands,” Boring reported.

$1,800 stolen

The victim told deputies that one of the subjects said, “we can do this the easy way or the hard way,” and demanded that he give them his money. The 28-year-old man said he had $1,800 cash on him, which he planned to use to buy the vehicle. The suspects fled out of the back of the residence with his money, the report said.

Neither of the Lenoir City men were reported to be injured during the incident.

One of the neighbors reportedly told the victims that one of the suspects was Clabough. Boring located Clabough on Tarbett Road. Clabough told Boring that he was with other people earlier, but he did not know their names.

“Mr. Clabough stated that he was allowing a male subject (name unknown) to use his residence to sell pills,” Boring reported.

Questioning of suspect

Boring then searched Clabough and found $300 cash, a glass pipe and marijuana residue, the report said. Clabough said the unknown male gave him $300 for allowing him to use his residence.

Clabough was taken to the Blount County Jail where he was placed on an investigative hold. Boring conducted an interview with Clabough where he again said that, “all he knows is he was allowing an unknown male subject to use his residence to sell pills and the subject paid him when he went to the residence.” Boring placed the $300 cash into evidence.

No other suspects had been charged in the robbery as of Monday.