A local couple has been charged with possessing a stolen box truck that Mount Airy police say they were using as a makeshift home.
“We know that they were living in the back of the truck,” Capt. Alan Freeman said of Timothy Scott Dougherty, 49, and his wife, Laurie Ellen Dougherty, 57.
They each have been charged with the felonious possession of the stolen vehicle owned by Budget Truck Rental in Virginia, Beach, Va., which is valued at $39,000.
Laurie Dougherty additionally was discovered to be a fugitive from justice from Maine, where the vehicle was stolen.
Both were being held under sizable bonds Thursday in the Surry County Jail.
The case originated with a report Monday of a suspicious vehicle in the parking lot near the Lowe’s hardware store in the Granite Town Centre shopping center on South Andy Griffith Parkway, police records show.
Freeman said Thursday that the 2012 Ford box truck had been at that location for a couple of days and aroused the suspicion of Lowe’s personnel, who subsequently notified police.
Further investigation revealed that the two were living in the back of the vehicle.
Possessions of the couple were stacked “nice and neat” there, Freeman said, and they had been sleeping in the truck. “It looked like they had been living in it like a mobile home.”
The two apparently were homeless, although an address on Byerly Street was shown for Laurie Dougherty and Timothy Dougherty, whose arrest records list that address along with “none” and “homeless” notations.
Timothy Dougherty was charged with felonious possession of stolen goods and Laurie Dougherty with possession of a stolen vehicle and being a fugitive from justice from Maine.
She allegedly had rented the vehicle in that state. “And they failed to return it,” Freeman said.
When stolen auto cases aren’t immediately solved in the jurisdictions in which they occur, information about the thefts is entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) system. It is a database used by law enforcement agencies around the country.
This uniformly alerts officers of stolen vehicles, which resulted in a “hit” being made on it locally when the investigation occurred this week at Granite Town Centre. Information about Laurie Dougherty being wanted in Maine also was found in the NCIC system.
She was jailed under a $15,000 secured bond and Timothy Dougherty, a $10,000 secured bond. They are scheduled to appear in Surry District Court on Sept. 24.
The stolen truck was impounded after their arrest.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.