Columbus Police rushed to Atmos Energy’s equipment lot at 1423 Main Street shortly before midnight Saturday for a burglary in progress. Officer Wade Beard was patrolling the area when he noticed two people standing on 14th St. North next to the fence that surrounds the Atmos property.
Beard pulled up to the couple and they took off running north on 14th. Beard described them over the radio as a young white female wearing a white shirt and a white male with a beard. As Beard exited his patrol car to pursue the subject, he noticed another white male inside of the fenced perimeter running towards the main building.
The officer yelled for the subject to stop and warned the fugitive that he would release his partner, K-9 Officer Bowdy, into the yard if he did not stop. The subject, later identified as 19 yr-old Anthony Handley of Gatlin Rd. in Columbus, scaled the 10ft high barbed-wire fence near the southernmost end of the yard. Handley got momentarily stuck in the barbed-wire and got multiple wounds to both of his arms before falling to the ground. Officers Beard and Robert Walker were waiting for him when he returned to earth and quickly subdued Handley and placed him in handcuffs.
Other officers arrived on scene and immediately searched the surrounding neighborhood for Handley’s cohorts. Sgt. Ross Richardson arrived on scene alongside Officers Christopher Smith, Josh Vandiver Walker and Beard began to question Handley as they waited for an investigator to arrive. The rather animated suspect was very talkative when Beard asked him why he was in the yard.
“I wasn’t even doin nuthin fu*#%g wrong. I was just runnin’ cause you scared me, that’s all. Ain’t got no reason to put me in cuffs!!” exclaimed Handley.
“What were you doing in the yard, man…and where did your friends go?” asked Beard.
“I told you I was alone! Why you f**#ing botherin me!? “said Handley.
“You were alone? Swear to God? Asked another officer.
“First of all, I don’t even believe in God- and another thing is, was…my friend threw my knife in there- so I went to get it” the perpetrator replied.
“I thought you said you were alone, now you were with friends?” Beard queried.
“I did. Not that hard to understand. Nobody was with me. Ya’ll trying to put words in my mouth!!” replied Handley in his defense.
Just as Handley was presenting his defense, Officer Jesse Roberson called in that they had discovered one of his accomplices sitting on the porch a couple blocks away. The female friend, identified on scene as 23 yr-old Stacey Cuevas, arrived on scene in the back seat of a patrol car and was beside herself with emotion.
“This is bulls##*!! I’m just minding my own business, hanging out with some family, and you come and arrest me for nothing?!! “ Cuevas screamed as she began to be questioned by Beard.
Cuevas seemed clearly intoxicated and began to explain her situation to the officers:
“I was just sitting there, I’ve got nuthin to do with this deal. I don’t even know that guy. Anthony just went in there to grab his knife”
“So you do know him, you just said his name” Beard replied.
“Whaaaat? No. No. Nooo. Like I said, I was just hanging out with my family” Cuevas said.
Meanwhile, back at the original scene, Handley was being questioned by Columbus
Police investigator Raymond Hackler as paramedics attended to his wounds. Hackler asked Handley for his name and date of birth, but the suspect stayed mum.
“Nope” he replied.
Hackler explained to Handley that they already had his name –since his wallet had fallen on the ground when he tried to vault the fence, and that refusing to identify himself could result in more charges. Handley admitted his identity and told police that he had been arrested several times before, and that he was fine with “doin time” for this as well.
Police found damage to some property within the work yard, and after Handley was transported to Baptist Hospital via ambulance, he was charged with Disobeying a Police Officer and Burglary of a Commercial Building. Cuevas was charged with False Information and Public Drunkeness.