Best laid plans definitely go awry for foursome now charged with theft PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marty Randall   
Wednesday, 11 October 2017 09:03

As Scots poet Robert Burns is often quoted as saying, “The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry,” or words to that effect.

According to the statements made to Scottsburg Patrolman Justin Cheatham on Monday night, October 2, four people reportedly planned to visit Wal-Mart and walk out with a new flat screen television. Apparently, without paying for said merchandise.

Clyde E. Polly, 75, Austin, told Ptl. Cheatham that he was at his home when “…one of the guys…” tapped on his bedroom window and made him an offer. If Polly would take them to Wal-Mart in Scottsburg, he’d get $10 for his trouble.

Polly got his keys and was joined by Eric S. Hodge, 30, Lexington; Larry E. Huff, 42, Austin; and Megan E. Estep, 24, Madison. Huff got into the front passenger seat, while Hodge and Estep rode in the back.

When they got to Wal-Mart, Polly said he let the threesome out at the entrance and parked his car on the west side of the lot.

Then, he said Estep and Huff came out and got back in the car and told him to drive further west, off Wal-Mart property, to nearby Michael Drive.

The trio waited for Hodge to show up, which he did, carrying a new television with a 43-inch screen. Hodge put the TV in the back seat and got back in.

What the officer learned later from Wal-Mart personnel is that Hodge allegedly selected the TV from a display and put the television in a cart. He then supposedly stopped the cart near one of the store exits, grabbed the carton and took off running out the doors.

Store staff called 9-1-1 around 9:30 p.m., saying the man was running westward through the parking lot. That call dispatched Ptl. Cheatham and Patrolman James Vires to the store, but it also caught the attention of off-duty officer Greg Green, another Scottsburg patrolman. He proceeded in his patrol car west of the store, and it was in the middle of Michael Drive that he saw a red car.

That car drove off with Patrolman Green following it and advising dispatchers of his location.

He followed it to West Lawrence Drive, turning with it, and to North Lake Road North, where Green advised dispatchers he was going to stop the vehicle for a traffic violation.

The car stopped when Ptl. Green flashed his emergency lights, but a man’s figure was seen hopping out of the back seat and running off on foot.

The patrolman gave chase and got the man, Hodge, to stop. By this time, the two other patrolmen had caught up to the red car. The three inside were ordered out.

The evidence was seized, and the car was impounded. A syringe found where Huff had been seated was claimed by Huff, who produced a needle exchange card. Four others found in a small bag in the vicinity where Estep had been riding were not claimed. All four were taken to the Scott County Security Center and were booked into the facility by 10:05 p.m.

As the chauffeur, Polly’s charge is aiding theft, a Class A misdemeanor. He and the other defendants went through initial court hearings on Thursday afternoon, October 5. Polly’s bail was set at $10,000 by corporate surety bond or $1,000 cash. His bench trial is scheduled December 12.

The rest may have time to read some of Burns’ 18th century poems or watch TV in their cell blocks.

In court documents filed, the Prosecutor’s Office filed Notices of Prior Offense against Estep, Hodge and Huff because of their past criminal histories. Estep has a theft conviction in Jackson County. Hodge and Huff have been convicted of theft in Scott County. The Notices bump their theft or aiding theft charges up to Level 6 felonies from Class A misdemeanors.

Estep is also charged with unlawful possession of a syringe, a Level 6 felony, and Hodge has an additional A misdemeanor charge of resisting law enforcement for his abortive flight from the car.

Also, the Prosecutor’s Office requested petitions for detention, keeping all three in jail for 15 days without bond. Hodge’s bail thereafter will be $25,000 by corporate surety bond or $2,500 cash. Estep’s and Huff’s bails are each $20,000 by surety bond or $2,000 cash.

Each of the three were assigned an initial jury trial date of January 15, 2018.