6 indicted for thefts including funds raised for boy with cancer

(WBIR) Six people are facing charges, accused in a string of burglaries in Sevier County, including theft of thousands from a fundraiser for a boy battling leukemia.

A Sevier County grand jury indicted Janie Allen, Tracey Justus, Sherry Metcalf, Scottie Ownby, Justin Tarbett and David Way.

Some of the suspects were already in jail for unrelated charges.

The suspects face 52 charges, including ones related to a break-in at The Bluffs Grill and Tap in Sevierville.

Last December, someone broke into The Bluffs Grill and Tap and stole $14,000, including $3,000 collected to help Preston Gentry. The Bluffs hosted the fundraiser for Gentry, then 11 years old, who is battling leukemia.

RELATED: Burglary clears out cash raised for child cancer patient

The Bluffs' loss, including damages, is valued at more than $25,000. Co-owner Justin Huffaker said insurance did not cover the damages. The business upgraded security and are still working with the insurance company.

"I guess we need to give the Sevierville Police Department a little credit for staying on top of this case because, you know, six months these guys could've been anywhere. But they've stayed on top of it, stayed on their tail, and got them," Huffaker said.

The Sevierville Police Department worked with the Gatlinburg Police Department and the Sevier County Sheriff's Office on this investigation.

According to Huffaker, they were still able to give Preston $4,000 through a second fundraiser and out of the business' own pocket.

Preston's mom, Sara Gentry, said she is relieved knowing the suspects face criminal charges.

"It affected us in a small way but it affected businesses in a much bigger way. My friend that held that fundraiser for him, that was the biggest night he'd ever had since he had been opened. So all that money was gone, too. So that's a big relief," she said.

Sara Gentry said since the theft last year, Preston's cancer is now under control. His hair is growing back. Gentry said he still has three more years of chemotherapy.

The six suspects are accused in other break-ins, including one at the home of Gatlinburg City Commissioner Jerry Hayes.


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