A man who had stolen cigarettes and lottery tickets from a Shell gas station made the mistake of striking up a conversation with a fellow pedestrian.
Little did he know that the man in street clothes was an off duty detective for the Nashville police.
Charles Harbin asked the detective to use his phone. The detective dialed the number and let Harbin use the phone. The detective listened and became interested in what the man was saying.
Noticing that the man was “soaking wet,” the detective asked Harbin if he was running from police. “Hell Yea” was the answer. Harbin went on to describe how the police had cornered him and that he had to jump in a creek to escape them.
The burglar then asked the police officer for a light and asked him if he wanted to buy cigarettes. Harbin opened a black garbage bag full of cigarette packs and cartons along with lottery tickets.
He then asked for a ride to no avail. Harbin said he would catch a bus and gave three of the tickets to the detective.
Subsequently the detective called his department and ascertained that a Shell gas station nearby had been burglarized. And strangely—cigarette cartons and lottery tickets were missing.
The detective called for back-up. Then he followed Harbin to a parking lot. The units converged, and the officers arrested Harbin.
At first he admitted that he had stolen the items, then he changed his story to say that he had found the bag.
The DA charged Harbin with burglary and had him held at the Davidson County Jail. In addition, he was held on a $50,000 bond.
Had Harbin been more discrete, he would probably have continued eluding the authorities.