An investigative trail that consisted of motor oil leaking from a stolen tractor in Cocke County has led across the Nolichucky River into southeast Hamblen County and multiple felony and misdemeanor charges against the man who lived at the end of the oil trail, a detective said Tuesday.
The Hamblen County prosecution of Mark Hogate, a 48-year-old convicted felon, has some of the trappings of a chop-shop case, according to Detective Sgt. George Sauceman with the Hamblen County Sheriff’s Department. Hogate allegedly stole a car, motorcycles and motorcycle parts in the Spencer Hale Road area beginning in December 2018.
The biggest alleged victim in the case at $37,000, is Steve Anderson, a 68-year-old man who’s currently serving time in the Morgan County Correctional Complex for a parole violation related to a chop-shop conviction in the 1980s, authorities say.
Hogate allegedly stole a 1969 Harley-Davison M-65, a 2007 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic Electra Glide – one of the bikes belonged to someone else – Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts and a 1964 Cadillac Hearse from Anderson’s garage on Fishing Rod Lane off Spencer Hale Road during several forays into Hamblen County, according to Sauceman.
The hearse was found burning under the bride on Spencer Hale Road, near the Hamblen-Cocke County line, according to Sauceman. The detective says Cocke County Sheriff Armando Fontes contacted the sheriff’s department several months ago and reported that he believed stolen property recovered at Hogate’s home on Emanual Road was taken from Hamblen County.
Hogate was identified as a suspect when Cocke County officials followed an oil trail from where it was stolen to Hogate’s residence, according to Sauceman.
Another prominent alleged victim is John Litz, the former state representative from Hamblen County. Hogate allegedly admitted stealing unspecified property from property Litz owns on Spencer Hale Road, according to Detective Sgt. Jim Brooks.
In August 2019, Hogate allegedly stole a 1998 Honda Civic from Spencer Hale Road resident Evelyn Hayes. Auto parts cannibalized from the Honda were recovered in Cocke County. The partially stripped vehicle was found on Spencer Hale Road, according to Detective Sgt. David Stapleton.
Detective Sgt. Josh Sipe charged Hogate with stealing three mobile home doors and a fiberglass shower door from an unspecified victim who lives on Spencer Hale Road.
Hogate is currently being held in the Hancock County Jail, according to the Tennessee Department of Corrections.