Adams denies the accusations, saying police were simply responding to a call one of Coffey’s tenants, Tek-Mek. The company, which rented space at the mill, claimed Coffey was blocking the entrance to its rented space and preventing it doing business.
Les Coffey’s claims
Coffey is seeking arrest warrants on Adams and others for breaking and entering and for stealing.
According to Coffey, the warrants do not include other officers, who Coffey said, were not aware they were committing a crime. They were simply doing what their boss, police chief Sid Adams, told them to do, he said.
Coffey said he has several hours of video, taken between June 2008 and June 2009, including footage of Adams and other officers entering Peerless Mills on McFarland Avenue and taking property.
Coffey said he turned the video over to the district attorney in June 2009. Coffey claims video recorded on April 24, 2009, shows Adams and other officers moving property and breaking and entering Peerless Mills and stealing property from Coffey and other businesses.
“We have been investigating this for the past year or so,” Coffey said, “and we have enough evidence now to show probable cause of theft and breaking and entering.”
Coffey said the video shows Rossville police officers, under Adams’ direction, move an excavator parked in front of a door at the mill and use it to break down the door.
An excavator is a crane-like machine used in construction.
“It appears some of the ones involved did not know they were stealing,” Coffey said.
Coffey filed the applications for arrest warrants in Walker County Magistrate Court on Monday. Adams is schedule to appear in Walker County Superior Court at the end of September, Coffey said.
Coffey said the police did not have the right to go onto the property, move the equipment, break the door down and enter the building.
“I don’t believe the two uniformed officers (in the video) knew they were committing a crime. They were under the direction of Sid Adams,” Coffey said.
Sid Adams’ response
Adams said video filmed in April 2009 was of Rossville police officers responding to a call from Tek-Mek, one of Peerless Mills’ tenants.
Tek-Mek had been renting space from Coffey at the site and had a machine shop in the mill.
“Eventually it got to a point where a landlord-tenant dispute occurred,” Adams said.
According to Adams, a metal lathe was purchased from Tek-Mek from an outside party and the buyer had gone to the bay door of the Tek-Mek entrance at Peerless Mills to get the metal lathe.
Coffey, Adams said, instructed one of his employees to block the entrance to Tek-Mek with the excavator.
A Tek-Mek employee contacted the Rossville Police Department concerning the entrance being blocked and Rossville police officers responded.
Officers arrived at the scene and asked Coffey’s employees to move the excavator from the entrance. Adams said the employees did not want to move it.
The responding officers then called Adams to the scene and the officers moved the excavator from the door.
According to Adams, no door was broken into, and entrance was made into the facility.
Adams said nothing was taken from the establishment, except for the already purchased metal lathe that was being sold by Tek-Mek.
Since then, Coffey has locked down the building and not allowed Tek-Mek to remove its equipment from the site, Adams said.
Rossville police received a call about two to three weeks ago concerning one of Coffey’s employees cutting up Tek-Mek metal property with a blow torch, the police chief said.
“Someone saw this and called police,” Adams said.
Adams said Coffey sold the metal in Chattanooga for scrap iron. In this case there is warrant application hearing scheduled for Coffey for felony theft by conversion, he said.
Coffey applied for warrants for three of the Tek-Mek employees and those warrant hearings have not occurred yet, Adams said.
Coffey filed warrant applications on Adams, detective Dave Scroggins and another Rossville police officer, Adams said.
Adams said Walker County magistrate judge Jerry Day decided not to issue warrants for Adams, Scroggins and the other officer.
“There is no warrant on anyone at this time,” Adams said.
Tek-Mek warrant hearings are not scheduled either at this time, he said.
Adams said the video that Coffey made was of the officers responding to the call from the Tek-Mek Co.
“Nothing has been established. It is all a landlord-tenant feud,” Adams said.