ALCOA – A 24-year-old Knoxville man was charged by Alcoa police officers with three counts of theft after scamming people through advertisements on the craigslist website. He also was charged for similar thefts in Maryville and Sevier County.
James Edward Burnette, with an alias of Germany Webb, was arrested by Alcoa police officers on Jan. 20 and was charged with three counts of theft of property in Alcoa, and one count of theft of property in Maryville. Burnette was free on bonds totaling $5,500, and was released to the custody of Sevier County authorities.
On Jan. 1, a Knoxville woman reported that she had seen an advertisement on www.craigslist.com for the sale of a 1995 Toyota Corolla. She said she met a man, later identified as Burnette, to look at the vehicle at an Alcoa location. The woman said she decided to buy the vehicle and paid the man. She said he told her he was going to get the title out of the vehicle, but drove off with her money after getting into the car.
On Jan. 7, a Knoxville couple said they met Burnette on Jan. 5 at a restaurant on Alcoa Highway to look at a 2002 Chevrolet Tahoe that was advertised on craigslist. After seeing the car, the couple gave Burnette a deposit and he gave them a hand-written receipt. Burnette said he would deliver the vehicle to the couple on Jan. 7, but they never heard from or saw Burnette again.
On Jan. 7, a LaFollette woman reported that on Jan. 6, she met Burnette at a store in Alcoa, also to look at the Chevrolet Tahoe. After deciding to purchase the truck, she gave him some of the money owed and signed an agreement. She said she planned to meet him again on Jan. 7 with the rest of the money, at which time Burnette would bring her the vehicle and the title. The woman reported that Burnette never showed up.
Burnette was accused of stealing approximately $1,500 in these three Alcoa cases, and was also wanted in Maryville and Sevier County for similar thefts. The Knoxville woman who met with Burnette had taken photos of the suspect and his driver’s license during the time she met with him, which allowed detectives to identify the man as Burnette and file warrants for his arrest.
On Jan. 20, an Alcoa officer initiated a traffic stop on a Chevrolet Camaro due to a registration violation. During the traffic stop, the officer determined the driver to be Burnette. He was arrested and taken to the Blount County Jail without incident.