A report to police of vandalism at a local business resulted in felony drug charges for a Paragould man.
Police arrested Joshua Lee Garner, 39, on charges of one count each of possession of drug paraphernalia to manufacture, etc. methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl, or cocaine, a Class B felony; possession of less than two grams of a Schedule I/II controlled substance (methamphetamine or cocaine), a Class D felony; plus misdemeanor charges.
According to a probable cause affidavit sworn by Detective Sgt. Michael Oost of the department’s Street Crimes Unit, the arrest occurred Sept. 30 after officers responded to the report of vandalism to the air/vacuum machine at AJ’s of Paragould.
The caller had informed dispatchers that upon stepping outside, the employee heard a loud noise coming from the direction of the vacuum and noticed a person standing by the vacuums. At that point the employee stepped back inside to call police, after which they stepped back outside to observe the individual again allegedly tampering with the machine.
Cpl. Aaron Schenk and Ptl. Austin Matheny responded and located Garner by the vacuums. They told him the reason for their contact and Garner admitted to taking quarters from the machine; however, he denied doing any damage, according to police.
The officers then asked the employee to take a look at the machine to verify whether any pieces were damaged. The employee immediately noticed fresh damage to the base of the machine and a piece of metal on the ground that belonged on the machine. The employee also said a padlock was missing.
Officers detained Garner and escorted him to a patrol car. As Ptl. Matheny was walking back towards the vacuums, he noticed a cellophane wrapper on the ground where Garner had been standing upon their arrival. Inside that wrapper were three Schedule IV pills, and a corner cut baggie of suspected methamphetamine, according to police. During a search on Garner’s person, Matheny located a spoon with residue, miscellaneous tools suspected of being used to tamper with the machine, and quarters.
According to Oost’s affidavit, Garner received a citation to appear in court.