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Two Roanoke men were charged with grand larceny after the boat was found under a pile of dirt.
Scott Edward Flannagan
Travis Ray Asbury
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Charges against two Roanoke men accused of stealing a canoe and burying it were certified Wednesday to the grand jury.
Scott Edward Flannagan, 27, and Travis Ray Asbury, 26, were charged with grand larceny after police say the pair absconded on May 16 with a 16-foot canoe belonging to William Watson Martin.
At a preliminary hearing in Roanoke General District Court on Wednesday morning, Martin testified that he contacted Roanoke Times outdoors columnist Mark Taylor after the canoe was stolen and asked him for help getting the word out about the missing boat.
Martin said he called 911 on May 20 after Taylor phoned him with word of an anonymous tip about the canoe’s location behind a home in the 1200 block of Cleveland Avenue, where the canoe was supposedly hidden in some dirt.
Martin testified that he went to the Cleveland Avenue home, where a few officers had already arrived. He said he spotted a canoe-shaped mound behind the house but couldn’t see what was under it.
Asbury’s attorney, Melvin Hill, questioned Martin about how he knew exactly what was hidden in the earth.
“Did you notice it was your canoe or a canoe?” Hill asked.
“I had a solid lead,” Martin replied.
“That’s not the question,” Hill shot back.
“Who buries a canoe?” Martin said.
“If you’re confused about the process, I get to ask the questions,” Hill said. “You answer them.”
Officer J.E. Kaufmann testified that Martin soon hopped a fence at the property against his advice. Martin and Flannagan briefly fought before Kaufmann raised his pepper spray and handcuffed the pair, the officer said.
Police officers received permission from Bruce Flannagan, the property’s owner and Scott Flannagan’s father, to search the back yard where the mound was located, Kaufmann said. They recovered a red canoe matching the one taken from Martin’s home.
Asbury, who was at the home when the altercation occurred, told Sgt. A.S. Puckett that he and Flannagan “had the mutual idea” to steal the canoe, Puckett testified. Puckett said Flannagan told him the pair found the canoe by the Roanoke River.
In a separate but related hearing, Judge Frederick King dismissed dueling charges of assault and battery that Martin and Flannagan had sworn out against each other, saying that the men’s conflicting testimony left what actually happened during the altercation unclear.
King determined that there was enough evidence to find Martin guilty of trespassing but said he’d dismiss that charge in six months if Martin stayed out of trouble.
Weather JournalMany very icy despite 'bust' claims