Two extended ‘test drives' spur Kingsport arrest

Rain Smith • May 3, 2019 at 2:47 PM

KINGSPORT — A Kingsport man has been arrested for extended test-drives of two vehicles.

Kingsport police records state that shortly before 6 p.m. Thursday, Brandon W. Steele, 33, visited J&J Auto Sales, 3011 N. John B. Dennis Highway. He took a 2004 Chevrolet Trailblazer for a test drive and was told to be back in 15 minutes, but never returned.

As an officer was taking a report at the used car lot, another officer was dispatched to Courtesy Chevrolet, 1220 E. Stone Drive. There, Steele allegedly had taken a Volkswagen Jetta for a test drive earlier in the day, but the car was never brought back.

A couple of hours later, the Jetta was spotted in a driveway on Morelock Street, with Steele standing beside it. In his pockets police allegedly found the keys to both the Volkswagen and Chevrolet. The latter was located abandoned in the parking lot of a nearby church.

Steele, of Lowrance Drive in Kingsport, was then arrested for motor vehicle theft. Police records contain no statements from him about his alleged actions.

As reported in the Times News police blotter, a nearly identical theft occurred at J&J Auto on April 23, when a woman failed to return a truck from a test drive. Police located her several hours later — using the vehicle to move furniture — and she was jailed for theft.

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