A Searcy County man, 30-year-old Jonathan Manning of Leslie, has been arrested and charged with breaking or entering, after his flashlight caught the attention of a sheriff’s deputy.
Searcy County Sheriff Kenny Cassell says Manning was discovered in the parking lot of the Leslie Intermediate School July 26.
Due to the number of thefts reported in Leslie, the deputy approached Manning, after he observed his suspicious activity. Sheriff Cassell says when the deputy approached Manning, he turned off the flashlight.
The deputy then noticed Manning’s pickup truck was parked next to a truck owned by the Searcy County School District.
When the deputy asked Manning what he was doing in the parking lot at that time of night, the Leslie man reportedly said there were issues at home, and he needed to “get away.” During their conversation, the deputy noticed a 3-foot length of water hose in the back of Manning’s truck. He also saw a pair of cutters with a small piece of water hose attached in the front seat of Manning’s truck, along with two plastic gasoline jugs in the back of his vehicle. He saw the gas cap had been removed from the school’s truck.
Later, law enforcement learned gas had been spilled on the ground next to the school’s truck and was present on the rear tire directly below the fuel door.
Cassell says the following day Searcy County School Superintendent Alan Yarbrough released the video footage of the parking lot from the night before, and it reportedly showed Manning at the school. The video also showed a portion of the hose inside the fuel tank of the school’s truck, and Manning allegedly stepping on the end of the hose in an attempt to extract fuel.
In addition to the felony count, Manning has been charged with misdemeanor theft of property.