East Tennessee man facing drug charges after being found living with infant in storage unit

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Robert Coffey

Robert Coffey (Courtesy: Carter County Sheriff’s Office)

CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A man who was living in a storage unit with his girlfriend and a 1-year-old was arrested in Hampton after another man complained to deputies, saying the man in the unit had stolen an electrical cord from another unit.

According to a report from the Carter County Sheriff’s Office, Robert Coffey was arrested on Monday.

The report says a man arrived at the Carter County Detention Center and told deputies that Coffey had stolen an industrial electrical cord attached to the man’s own unit.

The victim told deputies Coffey was staying in Unit 114 at the Hampton Store All with his girlfriend and a 1-year-old.

Deputies went to the storage facility and could hear movement and voices coming from inside Unit 114. The release says deputies tried to make contact with the people inside with no success.

The storage unit manager, who is related to Coffey’s girlfriend, arrived and told deputies she knew who was staying in the unit. She also confirmed the infant was living in the unit as well.

Deputies told the manager a welfare check had to be conducted since the unit did not have running water and was not considered a dwelling.

The manager and deputies spoke to Coffey and his girlfriend, and Coffey was asked about the electrical cord. He stated he had one but had not stolen it from the victim.

Coffey said he had found the cord outside but admitted it did not belong to him. The cord was collected and returned to the victim.

During the welfare check, the report says deputies saw over five phones, over seven torch lighters and a plastic container containing what appeared to be a plastic baggie sticking out.

Coffey’s girlfriend reportedly informed deputies they had jugs of water for the child when asked if there was any clean water. The report says no jugs of water were seen, but authorities did see milk and cereal for babies in the unit.

Deputies report seeing the child in a play pin with an “adequate amount of clothing, blanket, and heater nearby.”

The woman was told she could not stay in the unit with the child without any running or clean water, and she told authorities her family would provide a residence for her.

After reportedly attaining consent to search the unit, deputies found seven phones and a tablet, three small clear plastic baggies containing approximately 0.9 grams of a clear crystal-like substance believed to be methamphetamine in a plastic container and three clear glass pipes with residue believed to be used to smoke methamphetamine.

Coffey was arrested for simple possession and drug paraphernalia and transported to the Carter County Detention Center.

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