Sheriff makes good on campaign promise to be a working sheriff - WSMV Channel 4

Sheriff makes good on campaign promise to be a working sheriff, nabs a thief

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Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold doesn't kick his feet up on his desk and let his deputies do all the work catching criminals.

In fact, Arnold made a traffic stop last weekend and arrested a thief. He said it's all in order to make good on his campaign promise to be a working sheriff.

Arnold does admit he spends a lot of time behind his desk pushing paper.

"Actually, I was on my way to the office. I just turned into the driveway," Arnold said.

That was the plan on his off day last Saturday - to catch up on paperwork - when a call about someone following a thief came across his scanner.

"I knew I was the closest, here at the sheriff's office," Arnold said.

The sheriff spotted the alleged thief driving a green SUV on South Church Street, and pulled up behind it to make the traffic stop.

"We made contact with the driver and started talking to him, and the deputy took over the traffic stop at that point and charged him with the different crimes," Arnold said.

Authorities said 29-year-old Luis Feliciano-Estrada had just stolen some propane tanks, copper, a gear box, a radiator and a steel ramp from a property near Bell Buckle.

The property is owned by Buddy Gambill, who made an unsuccessful run for Rutherford County road superintendent. He frequently checks on all his properties and said when he saw a truck parked up alongside Shelbyville Highway he thought at first it was a hunter.

But then he saw personal items piled up, so he did a little police work of his own.

"I just more or less set up a surveillance until the guy came back up," Gambill said.

Once Feliciano-Estrada loaded the items, he drove off. Gambill followed from a distance while talking to a 911 dispatcher, giving a description and location of the vehicle.

"I notified the sheriff's office we had a thief that was heading towards Murfreesboro that we needed to apprehend," Gambill said.

That's when Gambill saw a black SUV turn on blue lights and stop the vehicle. It was the sheriff, himself.

"It was refreshing to see our sheriff was a working sheriff," Gambill said.

Gambill said the alleged thief claims someone named "Brian" gave him permission to take the items.

"I told him, 'you need to look Brian up once you get out of jail,'" Gambill said.

Arnold said it was just another day on the job.

"That's what I campaigned on, and that's what I thought my job should be: a working sheriff," Arnold said.

Feliciano-Estrada is facing theft of property more than $1,000 and an open container violation because he had a 40-ounce beer in the SUV. There is an immigration hold on him as well.

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