Searcy County Sheriff Kenny Cassell reported on August 15, his office was contacted by Leslie Mayor Talitha Hardin concerning an individual who was stealing water from the City of Leslie.
According to Cassell, Searcy County Deputy Kevin Trammell went to Leslie and spoke with Hardin and Leslie employee, Ben Davis, who stated they were checking the water meter at 302 Hazel Street, which is the residence of Jonathan Manning, and saw that the lock had been cut off of the meter. They also found a straight pipe had been connected to allow water to flow directly to Manning’s residence. According to city officials, the meter to Manning’s residence was shut off in August of last year due to non-payment.
A history of Manning’s account was pulled with the usage and bills from the past and an estimate was established for the water stolen and an estimate of the money owed from August 2018-19. City officials were able to determine that the bill owed for water and damage to the city’s property totaled $1,119. 28.
Cassell also stated in March of this year, Searcy County Deputy Aaron Leavins and K9 Deputy Endy went to Manning’s residence in Leslie to serve him with a warrant for theft of property.
When he arrived he was met at the front door by Manning’s wife. When she opened the door, Leavins saw Manning coming from the bathroom area and he told Leavins that he was working on a busted water pipe. He asked Leavins if he could come back later in the day to “arrest him” because he did not want to leave his wife and child without water. Since it was a non-violent offense, Leavins agreed to return later in the day.
Later in the afternoon Leavins returned to Manning’s residence and saw Manning standing by a white truck and wearing a headlamp. When Leavins stepped out of his vehicle, Manning fled the area. After informing the sheriff’s office of the situation, he initiated tracking Manning using K9 Endy.
At that time, Leavins saw a motorcycle located in plain view in Manning’s backyard inside a barbed wire fence. Leavins also noticed green wires hanging out of the ignition of the motorcycle. After checking out the serial numbers on the motorcycle, Leavins learned it had been stolen out of Cleburne County. The motorcycle was impounded and the Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office was contacted. Leavins stayed with the motor cycle until it was impounded.
Manning has been arrested and charged by Twentieth Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Carol Crews for theft of services, Class C felony; theft by receiving, Class C felony; and fleeing on foot, Class C misdemeanor.