By Jesse Wood
May 17, 2013. Thomas Henry Pusey of Sugar Grove picked the wrong guy to steal from a few mornings ago.
On Tuesday, Keith Bell was driving home from a doctor’s appointment where he had just had shoulder surgery when he pulled into his driveway in the Brown’s Farm area to find his trailer hooked up to Pusey’s SUV.
Bell, a former probation and parole officer and former investigator with the U.S. Office of Personal Management, said that Pusey immediately tried to “lie his way out of the situation,” claiming that he had purchased Bell’s trailer for $500.
“He made two mistakes. Number one, he tried to steal from a former federal investigator and the second mistake is that he tried to steal something from property that wasn’t a vacation home,” Bell said.
Because Bell had just undergone shoulder surgery, Bell didn’t immediately leave the inside of his vehicle. But he did have OnStar Demand, with which he immediately contacted the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office.
Bell said that Pusey then unhooked the trailer and tried to drive away – all the while stating that law enforcement couldn’t prove Pusey was trying to steal the trailer. Bell said that, unfortunately for Pusey, the whole conversation was recorded via OnStar Demand.
In between the time that law enforcement officers arrived at the scene, Pusey kept trying to maneuver his vehicle around Bell’s to escape from the scene. Every time Pusey tried to move his vehicle, Bell would inch closer until Pusey’s vehicle was pinned to the edge of a retaining wall (that featured a steep drop below) at the end of the driveway (see photo).
Deputies arrived shortly afterwards and found, inside Pusey’s vehicle, a reciprocating saw that Pusey used to saw the lock off the trailer and Bell’s wooden blocks used to stabilize the trailer.
Also inside Pusey’s vehicle the whole time during this episode was Pusey’s wife.
Pusey was charged with felony larceny for attempting to steal Bell’s trailer
Following the arrest, investigators with the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office charged Pusey with other unrelated theft charges.
According to records filed at the courthouse, from April 17 to May 7, Pusey sold – numerous times – aluminum concrete forms to High Country Recycling that were not his property. Those forms belonged to Southern Basement Inc. and totaled $6,324 in value.
With a $35,000 secured bond, Pusey is in custody today. His court date is set for June 26, where he will address a larceny charge, six charges of obtaining property by false pretenses and two charges of possessing stolen goods/property – nine felonies in all, according to court records. This is in addition to a May 11 driving-while-license-revoked charge.
“He ran into some bad luck that day,” said Bell, who commended the sheriff’s office for its timely response and further investigations linking Pusey to previous crimes. “I am glad this guy is off the streets of the community.”