NPS Digest is reporting that three men have been arrested for breaking into parked automobiles in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Park dispatch received a report of suspicious activity from park employees at the Elkmont Campground ranger station on April 25th. Three men in a red vehicle had been seen at the Little River Trailhead looking into the windows of unoccupied cars. Ranger Heath Soehn searched for and found the car, which was heading away from the trailhead, and got its license plate number. While following the car he saw an object being thrown from the front passenger side window.
Soehn and Ellen Paxton, a special agent on detail from ISB, stopped the car for the observed littering violation and found that the item that had been thrown from the car was a window punch. Soen and Paxton soon learned that three vehicles with smashed-out windows had been found at the trailhead. During a search of the car, Paxton found property that turned out to belong to people from all three of those vehicles. The person who phoned in the initial report also identified the three men as the ones seen at the trailhead. Paxton prepared a criminal complaint charging them with felonies and later testified before a grand jury. A trial is set for July. The three men are believed to have committed eleven other larcenies in the park before being arrested by Soehn and Paxton.
Hiking Trails in the Smokies