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Neighborhood watch group slows down thief

VAN LEAR, Ky. (WYMT) - Members of one Johnson County community are thankful for their neighbors after they say their neighborhood watch group helped slow down a thief going through their town.

Sherri Hayden says, "We are getting the word out, we aren't putting up with it no more...this makes four times in two years, it is over!"

Friday night around eight o'clock Hayden and Tina Webb were at the historical society and museum preparing for Saturday's fundraiser when they say they heard shattering glass.

Webb says, "There was a guy standing out there with a hammer in his hand and he had broken into her truck."

Hayden ran outside and says, "I confronted him and asked what he was doing and he said getting his brothers truck...I said that's my truck."

Hayden took off after the man while Webb called police and also posted on Facebook about the situation.

Webb says, "I call it the open drapes call - everyone in Van Lear started looking for him. The whole community really came together."

The lookout was on, as folks began following and slowing down a man who they say was stealing from several of their neighbors.

Garry Ward says, "I just kept going up and down the road passing him and kept my eyes on him until the police got here."

They say as they pieced everything together it seems the man was stashing stolen items around the post office as he went to different locations. He then attempted to steal Hayden's pickup truck parked outside the post office.

Hayden says, "I've never seen anyone do that...this guy knew what he was doing and he was coming back for it all."

The man got away and neighbors called off the search around 11:30, but made another discovery Saturday morning.

Ward explains, "My brother-in-law was going to work and passed this guy laying in the road...he thought he was dead at first. Well, he was passed out is what was wrong with him."

The neighbors say it was, Travis Blair, with stolen tools scattered around him and keys to a 4-wheeler in his pocket. He was arrested, leaving folks in Van Lear thankful for their neighbors.

Ward says, "Love it, I love it! We need to take care of our community, I'm tired of it, having our community's name drug through the mud. We've got a bad name here and I want to improve that, and I feel most people do. 90% of the people that live here in Van Lear are good people, they other 10% are not worth a dime."

Blair is at the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center. He is facing several charges including burglary and public intoxication.

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