Former Chattanooga councilman arrested for allegedly picking up steaks at local Walmart

Note: This story was updated at 2:38 p.m. to correct the spelling of Yadira Hernandez’s name. The story was updated with more information at 4:52 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office/Erskine Oglesby

Another warrant was issued Wednesday for the arrest of Erskine Oglesby, Chattanooga’s assistant community development administrator, on additional misdemeanor charges. The Chattanooga Police Department is arranging for Oglesby to turn himself in on those charges, the police information sergeant said. Jeremy Eames confirmed in an email Wednesday afternoon.

Oglesby had already turned himself in on Tuesday after two warrants were issued for his arrest for two separate alleged thefts of steaks from a local Walmart.

According to an affidavit, on March 5, Chattanooga Police Officer Max Stansberry responded to a call to the Walmart at 3550 Cummings Highway regarding a shoplifting incident that allegedly occurred on February 11.

Loss prevention officer Yadira Hernandez told Stansberry that an unknown black man, later identified as Oglesby, selected two packages of steaks, scanned one, and placed both packages in his bag. The value of the unscanned package was approximately $12.47.

The same man entered the store at 8:30 a.m. on March 5 and at 8:52 a.m. walked away with an unpurchased steak, according to Hernandez. The man returned the same day around 10:52 a.m. but left the parking lot around 11:10 a.m. in a gray Nissan SUV, Hernandez told Stansberry.

(READ MORE: Chattanooga mayor appoints chief operating officer and deputy administrator for community development)

On Tuesday, officers responded to a call to the same Walmart, and loss prevention officer Nikki lves told officers she had identified Oglesby as the subject linked to the previous shoplifting incidents.

Officers obtained two warrants for Oglesby for theft and misdemeanor, and he surrendered to Silverdale Detention Center on Tuesday without incident, according to the affidavit.

In a phone conversation Wednesday, Oglesby said he had no comment at this time.

“I’m just going to let the process take its course,” he said.

The former Chattanooga city councilman has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal review, according to a statement released Tuesday afternoon by Mayor Tim Kelly’s office.

“Although there is no evidence that taxpayer resources were misused, out of an abundance of caution, Chief of Staff Joda Thongnopnua has asked Stan Sewell, the city’s independent auditor, to conduct an internal investigation,” says the press release.

Oglesby earns an annual salary of $93,465 as an assistant community development administrator. His absence from the city will be on paid administrative leave in accordance with city employee policy, pending the outcome of the investigation, city spokesman Ellis Smith said in an email Wednesday.

Oglesby ran unsuccessfully for mayor last year, placing eighth out of 15 candidates.

Contact Emily Crisman at [email protected] or 423-757-6508.

Dino S. Williams