The McArthur Police Department recently reported that on Friday, March 26, an officer was requested to respond to Bud’s One-Stop gas station regarding reports of a suspicious vehicle. Interim Chief Thomas Heaton arrived and located the vehicle, which had no visible license plates and damage to several windows, sitting in the parking lot unattended.

During the investigation that followed, Zachary Barnett, 31, of McArthur, arrived and claimed possession of the vehicle.

Barnett had a license plate in-hand and stated he borrowed it from his girlfriend’s residence. Heaton observed several criminal indicators while speaking with Zachary and requested assistance from the Vinton County Sheriff’s Office (VCSO). K-9 Zara was then deployed to perform an exterior search of the vehicle for suspected illegal narcotics. K-9 Zara showed a positive indication on the vehicle. During a search of the vehicle, another license plate was found that had previously been reported stolen to the VCSO.

Deputies on scene began investigating this incident further. During the investigation, Barnett allegedly attempted to destroy several items of suspected illegal narcotics. Heaton then made contact with the registered owner of the license plate that Zachary had in his possession upon arrival, who advised this plate was, in fact, stolen.

Barnett was arrested by the VCSO and several charges have been filed including theft of license plates, criminal trespass and possession of criminal tools. Other charges may be forthcoming pending investigation.

Heaton would like to thank VCSO deputies for their assistance with this investigation.