TOP PHOTO: La Follette Police Lt. Matthew Forsyth said they are going to be in touch with authorities in Knox and Anderson Counties about what appears to be a theft ring. Some of the alleged stolen items are shown here on top of the car the suspects drove into La Follette.

LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – More than a week’s worth of investigating culminated in the breaking up of a multi-county theft ring on Thursday afternoon. In the process, a one- year- old child was rescued.

A man and a woman are behind bars this morning after two patrol officers with the La Follette Police Department placed them under arrest at the corner of Beech Street and South Tennessee Avenue.

Officers Mallory Campbell and Zach Daughtery began their investigation after a theft was reported at Lowe’s in La Follette. Campbell identified the male on the store’s surveillance footage, and some of the alleged stolen items were also spotted on Facebook Marketplace by Campbell and Daugherty.

Officers arranged for an undercover officer to meet at Big Creek Market parking lot Thursday afternoon with Matt Broyles to purchase some of the stolen property.

Ahead of the meeting, Campbell and Daugherty wrote warrants on Broyles.

When the undercover officer met up with Broyles, who was riding shotgun in a brown Buick Century, he placed Broyles under arrest. Broyles was already wanted out of Anderson County.

Detectives and Chief Steve Wallen, also on scene, saw stolen property in the Buick. The one -year- old boy was found in the car, and officials with the Department of Children’s Services were called in to assist.

Broyles, 27, faces multiple charges while 33 year old Kelly Martin, mother of the child, was charged with conspiracy. Martin was the driver of the car.

A person close to the case tells WLAF News that Broyles and Martin live in a motel room at Rocky Top, and that the child is now being cared for by a family member. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 03/24/2023-6AM)