DICKSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Dickson County Sheriff’s Department has gone to 12-hour shifts, putting more manpower on the streets while stepping up directed patrols in high problem areas, and it’s paying dividends.

That became evident with a bust at an Interstate 40 truck stop that may end up solving multiple crimes in the region. The case broke wide open when deputies checked the Dickson truck stop and found a suspicious vehicle.

According to the police report, the battered Buick had an extension cord running from the trunk to the gas pumps and there was a ladder sticking out the back window. Deputies will later discover the ladder has been stolen from a local construction site.

Detective Chris Stockman told News 2 that the officers approached the vehicle casually and identified the occupants. The driver, 43-year-old Eric Carney of Nashville, and his passenger 30-year-old Shelley Neeley of Ashland City.

A Dickson County K9 officer ran his K9 around the vehicle, and the dog alerted on drugs in the car. Deputies searched the vehicle and found contraband and stolen property.

“Actually, the property owner came out and was able to identify several items in their vehicle as being stolen from his property,” said Detective Stockman.

Detectives tell News 2 that parts of a car exhaust system was cut off and found in the trunk. Detectives say the parts are from a catalytic converter burglary a few days earlier where a car matching the Buick was seen on the lot.

Inside the car, deputies seized boxes of nails that investigators say is stolen from a local construction site. According to detectives, the couple also had battery operated saws, car jacks, bolt cutters, even head lamps in their possession.

“Things consistent with catalytic converter thefts and breaking into tow lots,” said Detective Stockman.

Both suspects were arrested on multiple theft related charges, and Neeley also received a felony drug charge.

Eric Carney, Shelley Neeley
Eric Carney and Shelley Neeley

According to investigators, when Neeley was searched at the jail, she was found with 5.5 grams of meth on her person.

“And this was good police work. They were paying attention, talking to people, asking questions. Being in the area. It was good police work in every way,” said Detective Stockman.

Detectives tell News 2 that the arrest of the couple may help solve other crimes in the region.

Neeley bonded out of jail, while Carney is still behind bars in Dickson.