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Knox County Sheriff News

Round Up Restaurant Owner Arrested for Buying Stolen Meat

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

One person charged with felony theft is in custody following the execution of a search warrant at the Round Up Restaurant in South Knoxville today. The Knox County Sheriff's Office Organized Retail Crime Unit executed the search warrant at the restaurant, located at 3643 Sevierville Pike, just after 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday. The owner, 57-year-old Sam Tobea of Knoxville, is charged with felony theft and will be held in the Roger D. Wilson Detention Facility. The Knox County Health Department, the Department of Human Services, the State Department of Revenue, and Kroger assisted KCSO this afternoon. 

Tobea is accused of buying stolen meat from drug addicts.  The investigation began after two people were arrested in August for shoplifting meat from an area grocery store. When questioned, they admitted to stealing and selling the meat to the Round Up, and agreed to assist the KCSO in their investigation. Undercover officers then sold meat they said was stolen to Tobea. Officers on the scene this afternoon recovered some of that meat. The investigation also revealed that it was not uncommon for the stolen meat to stay in a shoplifter's vehicle for up to a day before it was sold to the restaurant. 

Chief Lee Tramel said, "We would like to thank our partners in the retail industry for their ongoing cooperation with the Sheriff’s Office in our attempt to combat thefts in their stores that perpetuate the opioid crisis. We know there is a direct correlation between these types of crimes and the drug epidemic that we are facing, and we feel that operations like this are necessary to combat drug use in our community."

The Organized Retail Crime Unit began six years ago to help prevent shoplifting during the holidays and has grown through the years to a full-time unit.  The unit collaborates with various law enforcement agencies and retailers year round.



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