Cleveland man nabbed in tire-dumping incident

By AUTUMN HUGHES
Posted 10/16/18

A Cleveland man was arrested last week after he was reportedly caught dumping tires in south Bradley County, near Spring Place Road.

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Cleveland man nabbed in tire-dumping incident

THIS IS A TIRE DUMP SITE under investigation by law enforcement authorities. A local man has been arrested in connection with dumping tires in south Bradley County, near Spring Place Road.
THIS IS A TIRE DUMP SITE under investigation by law enforcement authorities. A local man has been arrested in connection with dumping tires in south Bradley County, near Spring Place Road.
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A Cleveland man has been arrested after he was reportedlycaught dumping tires in south Bradley County, near Spring Place Road.

According to the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, Robert Daniel Free, 30, of Cleveland, was arrested on Oct. 9 and charged with felony criminal littering, after being caught and admitting to multiple instances of tire dumping.

“Following two previous reports of a suspicious vehicle and evidence of tire dumping, deputies located the vehicle in question (on Oct. 9),” according to information from BCSO spokesman Adam Lewis.

The black, late 1990s model S-10 pickup truck was pulled over and the driver questioned. Free admitted to dumping tires he picked up from area tire stores to make extra money, Lewis noted.

“He was arrested for an outstanding warrant, and for possession of a stolen car tag,” Lewis said. “He is also being charged with one felony count of aggravated criminal littering.”

Illegal tire dumping was discussed during last week’s Bradley County Commission meeting, when Bradley County Fire Chief Shawn Fairbanks mentioned local residents should be on guard against internet ads promising the delivery of old tires for construction and craft projects.

Fairbanks said there is a "con artist" that has been targeting Bradley County and surrounding counties recently. That individual, who Fairbanks did not want to name publicly, has been using several social media platforms and websites to find property to dump old tires.

"He dumps up to 200 to 3,000 tires on their property and then he never sees them again," Fairbanks said. "I've got three locations I'm dealing with now."

Fairbanks said he has tracked the man to Trenton, Georgia, and understands he won't deliver tires to Bradley County, but sends his employees here to drop off tires.

Illegal tire dumping was also part of the discussion during Monday’s voting session of the Bradley County Commission. While giving his district report, Commissioner Tim Mason offered a “shout-out” to the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office for Free’s arrest last Wednesday.

“It was a big team effort this past week and put someone in custody,” said Mason, who  is also the BCSO's environmental codes enforcement officer and Tennessee Department of Transportation litter coordinator with the BCSO.

Commissioner Mike Hughes, who is also a BCSO sergeant, said Class E felony charges were filed against Free because “he was doing it as a business” – businesses were paying him to properly dispose of the tires, but he was allegedly dumping them illegally.

To report tire dumping, call Shawn Fairbanks at 728-7067 or contact him via email at sfairbanks@bradleycountytn.gov. Also, residents affected by illegal tire dumping should file a report with the Bradley County Sheriff's Office.


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