BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
Two teenagers are being held at the Greene County Detention Center on charges of attempted aggravated robbery, attempted aggravated burglary, and aggravated cruelty to animals.
The Greene County Sheriff's Department, which is conducting the investigation, also placed a charge of arson against 19-year-old Wesley B. Sayler, of 7540 Horton Hwy.
Sayler and 18-year-old Johnathan Taylor Cox, of 19525 Horton Hwy., were allegedly planning an armed robbery and burglary in the early-morning hours of Saturday.
According to Sheriff Steve Burns, deputies believe the two teenagers, armed with a gun and "large knife" and wearing masks, parked in the driveway of a home on Mountain Loop, adjacent to Gardner Lane, in northern Greene County.
The two then allegedly lay in wait outside a home in the 200 block of Gardner Lane, the residents of which, Burns said, are acquaintances of Cox and Sayler.
"The intent was to go to stake out a residence on Gardner Lane to determine who and how many people might be in there. The plan was to rob the people inside," Burns said.
"The owner has a small dog, a pretty little dog, that ended up with a severe laceration on its back. It appears that the dog might have been barking and they tried to scare it off.
"We know the dog was barking," the sheriff added. "We know they were in close proximity to the dog, and the dog has a fresh, large laceration to its back."
Meanwhile, Burns said the resident of the Mountain Loop home saw the truck in her driveway and called family members, who arrived and blocked the pickup with another vehicle.
"I think it made them nervous," Burns said, concerning Sayler and Cox realizing people were gathered around Cox's truck. "They decide to abort the mission and get back to the truck."
But the family had blocked in the vehicle and called 911, leaving Cox to be placed under arrest when deputies arrived around 7 a.m.
Sayler, however, had reportedly already left on foot.
About 10 minutes after deputies arrived on scene, a nearby barn in the 500 block of Fodderstack Mountain Loop caught fire, according to the report.
"Sayler apparently cut through a field at Fodderstack Mountain Loop and ended up at the barn," Burns said. "For whatever reason, the barn caught on fire.
"When the barn catches on fire, he decides he would be better off back over [at the pickup], pretending like he never did leave," the sheriff stated.
Deputies later arrested Sayler near the pickup truck where Cox was arrested.
The sheriff said deputies spent hours connecting the dots between the incidents, with the investigation headed by Det. James Randolph and Det. Jason Taylor. Burns was also present on the scene.
The barn, a total loss, was valued at $20,000, plus a $4,300 loss of 215 round bales of hay.
The barn was less than a year old, according to the report and a statement by the owner.
The dog has received medical treatment, Burns also said.
Both Cox and Sayler remained at the Greene County Detention Center this morning.
Bond was set at $85,000 for Sayler and $75,000 for Cox.
Both are scheduled to appear in court today.