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News of the Weird

Friday June 07, 2002

Good deed saves cops job 


ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. – An off-duty sheriff’s deputy in court on bad check charges saved his job when he chased and captured a jail prisoner who fled the courtroom. 

After the heroics, the prosecutor dropped all charges against the deputy, preserving his 20-year law enforcement career. 

Carter County Lt. Rocky Croy was in criminal court Tuesday to face two charges of writing bad checks worth less than $40 to a supermarket. 

While Croy in civilian clothes waited in the gallery for his case to come up, a prisoner bolted from the courtroom. Croy jumped out of his seat and ran after the fleeing man. 

“Go get him, Rocky,” Judge Lynn Brown shouted from the bench. 

Croy returned to the courtroom with 20-year-old Jerry Ray Oaks, who had been charged with aggravated burglary, attempted aggravated robbery, theft, felony evading arrest and felony reckless endangerment. 

Assistant District Attorney Ken Baldwin then asked the judge to dismiss the charges against Croy. 

“Your honor, this is the kind of person we need in law enforcement,” Baldwin told Brown. “He instinctively went after that man even though he was off duty.” 

Croy had already made restitution on the two checks. He said they were written from an account he and his wife closed when they thought all the checks had cleared. 

If the charges stood, Croy would have been dismissed from the department. 

“He had a lot riding on this day in court — 20 years of service,” Sheriff John Henson said. “Rocky has always been a good officer. I am glad he got it worked out.” 

Croy will be back on duty Thursday, the sheriff said. 

Burglar forgets  

‘key’ element 


SMELTERVILLE, Idaho – The alleged burglar of the Lookout Ski Shop in Kellogg forgot a key element that made the investigation easy, Shoshone County authorities said. 

He left behind the key to his post office box. 

Jesse W. Murphy, 21, was booked into jail Tuesday on a charge of burglary in the break-in early that morning, sheriff’s Detective Mitch Alexander said. 

A backpack left at the scene contained a set of keys, including one for the post office box. 

Alexander and Pinehurst Police Chief Brad Kitchen determined who had the box and headed to Murphy’s home in Smelterville. Alexander said the next clue was at their feet.