A vehicle fire that occurred at a Caldwell junkyard on Saturday, Feb. 13, resulted in the arrest of a Greenbrier County man. Jeremiah Wilson Holliday, 37, of Smoot has been charged with the tampering of a motor vehicle, destruction of property and fourth-degree arson.
On the date in question, off-duty law enforcement officers were hunting on the property belonging to Bogg’s Junkyard on Stonehouse Road in Caldwell. While on site, the off-duty officers observed two individuals (later identified as Jeremiah Wilson Holliday and Lorne Atkins) fleeing the scene after a vehicle had caught on fire. The Lewisburg Fire Department responded to extinguish the fire and deputies from the Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Department were dispatched to investigate.
According to the criminal complaint, once on scene deputies discovered two sets of mechanics-style gloves, two book bags and a cutting torch near to the vehicle that had caught on fire. The book bags both contained catalytic converters.
The complaint states, “[the cutting torch] is a tool commonly used to tamper with automobiles in order to obtain the catalytic converters to sell at scrap yards.”
Deputies, with assistance from the Lewisburg Police Department, tracked the two fleeing suspects down the mountainside near the Greenbrier River Trail before the steepness of the rock cliffs forced officers to temporarily suspend their efforts. At this time, troopers from the West Virginia State Police joined in the search for Holliday and Atkins.
According to the criminal complaint, troopers soon located Holliday near the entrance to the River Trail. Holliday was reportedly covered in dirt and had several visible scratch-marks. At the same time, the off-duty officers had located Atkins near the water plant on Stonehouse Road. The complaint states that, while attempting to detain Atkins, he became combative with the off-duty officers before being wrestled to the ground. While being transported to the Lewisburg Police Detachment for further questioning, Atkins reportedly began to experience difficulty breathing and was released to Greenbrier EMS for medical treatment.
Holliday was placed under arrest and transported to the Lewisburg Detachment for processing. At this time, Holliday allegedly advised officers that Atkins had been present with him at Bogg’s Junkyard where the crimes had been committed.
According to the complaint, investigators are in the process of obtaining warrants for Atkins’ arrest. Holliday is being held in Southern Regional Jail on a bail amount of $5,000.