By Jessie Williams
Thanks to a nearby security camera, Red Boiling Springs police were able to identify the suspect who allegedly set an RBS Police Department patrol car on fire Monday, April 15.
According to a report by RBS Chief of Police Kevin Woodard, Officer Jeff Gentry responded to Price’s Repair Shop around 11:55 p.m. that night, where it was reported a vehicle was on fire.
Officer Gentry discovered that the vehicle was one of the department’s patrol cars that had been left there for repair work.
Chief Woodard joined forces with TBI Agent Jim Scarborough, and they were able to identify the potential suspect as 26-year-old Phillip Kernell, of Red Boiling Springs.
Security footage from a camera at a local business showed Mr. Kernell was in the area at the time of the incident.
Mr. Kernell was interviewed at the Macon County Jail on April 16, where he was already being detained for causing a scene at Citizens Bank earlier that morning.
During that incident, he entered the bank when it was closed and was told by employees they weren’t open. He then pulled his shirt off and started to pull his pants off. When officers arrived, Mr. Kernell was standing in the middle of the bank arguing with an employee who had previously told him to leave.
He was arrested for disorderly conduct and booked into the jail.
During his interview with RBS police later that day, he allegedly admitted to setting the patrol car on fire and described the act, which was consistent with evidence found at the scene.
Kernell’s bond from the disorderly conduct charge was revoked, and he was also charged with vandalism ($10,000 - $60,000).
He is scheduled to appear in general sessions court on May 8, 2019.