• 64°
Hartselle Enquirer

Man jailed for stealing car from jail after earlier release 

By David Gambino  

For the Enquirer  

A Vinemont man who was released on Thursday after more than 18 months in Morgan County Jail is back inside after deputies said he was spotted stealing a Morgan County Sheriff’s Office vehicle from the jail parking lot. 

Andrew Joseph Chenoweth, 33, allegedly stole a 2009 Ford Crown Victoria before he was stopped by a Decatur police officer at AutoZone on Sixth Avenue Southeast and charged with first-degree theft, according to an investigator affidavit. 

Chenoweth’s lengthy jail stay began when he was allegedly found in possession of 3.5 grams of marijuana in June 2022 and arrested, court documents show. He pleaded guilty three days later to second-degree possession and was given a 60-day suspended sentence with 24 months of unsupervised probation. 

As part of the agreement, Chenoweth was also instructed to complete a court referral program aimed at alcohol and drug abuse education the following month. According to court records, he was rearrested after he failed to attend. 

Chenoweth spent 13 days back in jail before a judge reinstated his conditions of release, court documents show. Less than a week later, Chenoweth was arrested again when a business owner at 2610 U.S. 31 S, near Target, caught Chenoweth in a parked vehicle on his property, according to an investigator affidavit. 

“The owner of the business approached the vehicle and found Chenoweth sitting in the front driver’s seat,” the affidavit reads. “The glovebox of the vehicle was opened, and Chenoweth was rummaging through it.” 

Court records show Chenoweth was subsequently charged with breaking and entering a vehicle, a class C felony. This time when he went back before a judge, pretrial release was denied. 

A court assessment of Chenoweth filed after his breaking-and-entering arrest notes that he claimed to be from Oregon and planned to “get his daughter” and return there. The assessment notes he has several arrests in Oregon, including for assault, and was issued a protection order barring him from harassing his daughter and his daughter’s mother. 

Three weeks before his breaking-and-entering arrest, when he was detained for failing to attend his court referral program, Chenoweth wrote a letter to District Judge Shelly Waters, according to court filings. In it, he asked why he wasn’t being released and for his lawyer’s phone number and next court date. 

“I been trying to get home because my wife is having my first kid and I know I lost my job because of being in here,” he wrote. 

Early last year, another judge granted a motion by Chenoweth to enroll in substance abuse treatment and pretrial supervision, pending an assessment, court records show. In a document filed in district court, a Morgan County Community Corrections treatment officer attached an email from McLemore Consulting LLC, the apparent substance abuse assessors. 

“McLemore Consulting went to the Morgan County Jail on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, to assess Andrew Chenoweth,” the email from McLemore reads. “Chenoweth was very confused about where he was at. He stated that this was not Morgan County Jail and we were holding him hostage. He then refused the assessment. He swore that the judge was in disguise and was really a female family member.” 

Consequently, Chenoweth’s attorney moved the court for a mental evaluation of her client, and it was granted. Since then, he was otherwise incarcerated in Morgan County Jail until court records show he pleaded guilty to breaking and entering on March 5. He was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, which was covered by his time already served. 

When Chenoweth was released on Thursday, a deputy thought he saw him enter an unmarked county vehicle, according to the affidavit. 

“(The deputy) then advised that someone was stealing the vehicle and then started to follow the stolen county unit and notified dispatch who then notified the Decatur Police Department,” the affidavit reads. 

After Chenoweth was detained, he allegedly told deputies that the car belonged to him. 

His defense attorney, Huntsville lawyer Patrick Arrington, could not be reached for comment. Arrington filed a request for a preliminary hearing on behalf of his client on Monday. 

Chenoweth remained in jail this week in lieu of a $20,000 bond for the new charge. 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Cheers to 50 years  

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Scott Stadthagen confirmed to University of West Alabama Board of Trustees 

Editor's picks

Hartselle graduate creates product for amputees 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Tigers roar in Athens soccer win

Danville

Local family raises Autism awareness through dirt racing  

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Three Hartselle students named National Merit finalists  

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Morgan chief deputy graduates from FBI National Academy

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle students collect food for good cause 

Falkville

Falkville to hold town-wide yard sale next month

At a Glance

Danville man dies after vehicle leaves Hudson Memorial Bridge 

Editor's picks

Clif Knight, former Hartselle mayor, Enquirer writer, dies at 88

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle Utilities reminds community April is safe digging month 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Teen powerhouse invited to compete in international strongman event

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Azaleas: An Alabama beauty 

Decatur

Master Gardeners plant sale returns in April

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Morgan leaders honored at annual banquet

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Local students selected for 2024 Blackburn Institute Class

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle sophomore represents Civil Air Patrol in D.C.  

Editor's picks

Hartselle council hires architect for new fire station, library and event center

At a Glance

PowerGrid Services in Hartselle evacuated for bomb threat

Morgan County

20 under 40: Trey Chowning

Falkville

20 under 40: TJ Holmes

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

20 under 40: Spencer Bell

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

20 under 40: Shelby Keenum

x