Cocke County, TN man wanted since April found in Sevier County

A Cocke County man who had eluded arrest on state and federal chop-shop charges since April was taken into custody in Sevier County on Friday and whisked to Greeneville for his initial appearance in federal court, according to authorities.

Gary Dale Shults, 41, Chavis Road, Cosby, apparently realized he had no chance for pretrial release. He waived his preliminary hearing, and has until Nov. 23 to decide whether he wants to make a deal or take his chances at trial.

The state charges were filed in April. On Aug. 8, he was indicted by a federal grand jury for interstate transportation and possession of a stolen vehicle, along with altering a vehicle-identification number.

Officers with the Cocke County Sheriff’s Department, who were assisted by the Tennessee Highway Patrol Criminal Investigation Division and a THP helicopter, went to Shults residence in April to arrest him for failure to appear in court to answer auto-theft charges.

Investigators determined at that dismantled 2005 Chevrolet 2500 Duramax pickup found there had been reported stolen to the Knoxville Police Department in April 2015.

A 2005 GMC Yukon had been reported stolen to the Asheville Police Department in November 2014, and a 2012 Lincoln MKZ was reported stolen to the Cocke County authorities in July 2015.

The federal indictment alleges that between December 2014 and February 2016, the defendant allegedly transported a stolen 1997 GMC Sierra 1500 truck from North Carolina to Tennessee, and subsequently removed the VIN plate.

The U.S. Marshals Smoky Mountains Fugitive Task Force made the arrest in Sevier County.