KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A 50-year-old man has been arrested and charged with 15 counts of burglary for a string of downtown-area business burglaries and break-ins.
Mark Randall Cooper, 50, was arrested Tuesday afternoon and has since been charged with 14 counts of burglary and one count of motor vehicle theft.
During questioning following his arrest, Cooper admitted to multiple burglaries that were reported on the dates listed at the following locations:
- Qwik Pantry on East Magnolia on Sept. 20 and Oct. 2
- Smoke Shop on Chapman Highway on Oct. 3
- Last Days of Autumn Brewing on Magnolia Avenue on Oct. 6
- Graphic Creations on Fourth Avenue on Oct. 8
- Raven Records and Rarities on N. Central Street on Sept. 23
- Ladies of Charity on Baxter Avenue on Sept. 20
- Woodland Market and Deli on Woodland Avenue on Sept. 28
- Marc Nelson Denim on Depot Avenue on Sept. 14
- Time Out Deli on Magnolia Avenue on Sept. 29 and Oct. 5
- Aladdin’s Time Out Deli on Central Avenue on Oct. 1
- First Stop Discount Tobacco on Woodland Avenue on Oct. 1
- Yassin’s Falafel House on Walnut Street on Oct. 7
- The Market on Gay Street on Oc. 8
“It’s really crazy,” Marcus Hall, owner of Marc Nelson Denim, said. “He’s on a rampage. He’s a menace, a nuisance to downtown and I’m so thankful the Knoxville Police Department for getting this guy off the streets.”
Hall says before the burglary, he interacted with Cooper.
“He asked if he could clean up and help out for some money for food,” Hall said.
Hall said he paid Cooper $15 an hour for about five hours of work.
“Once I let him in he basically just sized up my business.”
Security cameras were rolling when Hall believes Cooper broke into his business in September.
“Actually we discussed this guy because he had stolen $200 out of my wallet and initially I wondered, ‘Did I misplace it?’ ” Hall said. “And we talked about it. We were waiting on it, we were. It didn’t shock me at all, it really didn’t, it didn’t surprise me.”
The window at Marc Nelson Denim has been replaced and Hall said this was a tough lesson learned, and added replacing the window cost more than the cash that was stolen.
“I’m more hurt about that than had it been some random act, that’s one thing, but you open your heart and your door to someone,” Hall said. “I actually went and got him lunch, made sure he ate. I thought I was treating him like a decent human being because if I was in that situation, I would want someone to do the same for me.”
Additionally, Cooper is charged with stealing a company vehicle from Turn Key Installations on East Jackson Avenue sometime between Oct. 5-7. That vehicle was possibly used in the commission of several of the burglaries.