January 26, 2007
A Tuckerman man, 44-year-old Thomas R. Dennis Jr., was arrested
during a traffic stop Thursday afternoon after he was reportedly seen
hiding a rifle next to his car seat.
Deputy Wayne Green said he stopped a Chevrolet Blazer at Highway 69
and 122 around 6:18 p.m. because he couldn’t tell if the vehicle had
tags on it.
“As I approached I could see the passenger, identified as Thomas
Dennis Jr., stuffing something between the passenger seat he was in and
the console,” Green said. “I could see the top of a .22 caliber rifle
between the seats, partially covered and a shotgun lying between the
seats toward the back of the vehicle, also partially covered.”
“I asked the driver, identified as Gayland G. Keller, 44, of
Tuckerman, how many firearms he had in the vehicle and he said ‘two.’ I
asked Keller to step out of the vehicle and to step to the back where I
patted him down for weapons and asked for consent to search the vehicle
and Keller said ‘sure.’”
After checking Dennis for weapons, Green said he conducted a search
of the Blazer and checked the guns. According to Green, both guns were
fully loaded with a bullet in the chamber of each.
“I asked what they were doing out after dark with loaded weapons, and
they said they were coming from rabbit hunting,” Green said.
“I had dispatch run both Keller and Dennis through the computer and
found that Dennis was a convicted felon and had already been charged
with carrying certain prohibited weapons,” Green said. “I asked Dennis
what he was doing with the weapons knowing he was not to have any
weapons in his possession and he said they were not his. Keller said
that both weapons were his.
“I advised them that I was confiscating the weapons and placed Dennis
into custody for possession of firearm by certain persons.”
Green said a Criminal Investigations Division hold was placed on
Dennis at the Independence County jail and the guns were placed into an