UPDATE: Man arrested, accused of stealing truck from disabled carpenter

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HAZEL GREEN, Ala. (WHNT) -- UPDATE: After receiving a tip that the 1994 Dodge Dakota was on Trade Street in Florence, the Florence Police Department took Mark Anthony Lard into custody late Tuesday evening.

Mark Anthony Lard (Photo: Florence Police Dept.)

Mark Anthony Lard (Photo: Florence Police Dept.)

Lard is suspected to have stolen Dewey Tate's truck Monday.

Florence Police are holding Lard on outstanding warrants in Lauderdale County.

Check out our latest report on the community's response to the crime.

Previous report

When Dewey Tate is not building and selling birdhouses in front of Hazel Green Building Supply on U.S. Highway 431, he is playing guitar.

"I put all my heart into my music," said Tate. "I love playing my music.  You know, in my spare time, when I'm not working."

Half-paralyzed from a car accident when he was a child, Tate receives a disability check.  But, he still wants to provide for his family in every way possible. He is also willing and eager to help anyone who needs it.

Monday, a man approached Tate claiming his house burned down. Tate described him as a six-foot tall, 200-pound, burly, white male in his late 40s with short blond hair and a blond mustache.

Wanting to help, Tate told the man to use his place to take a shower.

In return, the man offered Tate $50 to play a gig with him at a club in Ardmore. Tate was thrilled about the opportunity to get paid doing what he loves.

He loaded his electric guitar, acoustic guitar, keyboard and amplifier into his red 1994 Dodge Dakota. The truck has only one windshield wiper and one working tail light. The tailgate is also dented and the bumper features a "Go Fish" FM 95 sticker.

The two then hit the road.

"I didn't know where the place was.  So, I asked him if he could drive us down there," said Tate.

The man said the club was close to the Dog Days Flea Market.  When they turned onto Gowan Road, Tate said the man pulled over claiming the truck had a flat tire.

"When I got out of my truck to look to see what happened, he jumped in my truck and took off with all my instruments."

The tools Tate uses to build his birdhouses were also in the vehicle.

"I've worked all my life to get what I had in my truck," said Tate.

What isn't missing, though, is support.

From phone calls to friendly visits, in less than 24 hours, the Hazel Green community rallied around him.

"I wouldn't expect anybody to take advantage of somebody like this because he does this for his family, for his daughter and his wife," said friend Tonya Swinford.

Despite the outpouring of help, Tate says he does not want any handouts.

"I don't want any donations or anything, I just want to try to get my stuff back."

With the help of his neighbors and the local authorities, hopefully it will be sooner, rather than later.

"It's really amazing what Hazel Green can do to pull together and believe me, he'll get caught," said Swinford.

5 comments

  • J.B

    Really Huntsville????? Maybe he was a little naïve, but he was offering a helping hand to someone who needs it!!!!! We need more people like that in the world. Isn’t it funny how someone with very little always steps up and offers to give whatever he has to others.
    We cannot live our lives not trusting although we can be a little more careful.
    I am going today to buy a Birdhouse from this man and I hope others will to.
    He deserve our support!!!!!! The world needs more like him.

  • Bob

    From what I heard,this piece of garbage Lard burned down his own house. His wife and kid have to live with Grandparents now.

  • Michael

    Wow. I used to love it when Tate would call in to the Fish’s radio show a few years back. Usually a highlight on the morning commute to work especially when he got to talking about advice on “hey babies.” He became somewhat of a local celebrity because he was so lovable. If it was Lard that did this I hope that guy gets the premium prison treatment.

    Hang in there Dewey, you’re going to bounce back bud. If it ain’t a Tate birdhouse it ain’t a great birdhouse. 😉 Much love Dewey.

  • charles

    I hope he never sees the light of day again.He is no longer family.I am so very sorry for what he did to this very sweet man.God will make sure you and your family are taken care of.And Mark will get what he deserves

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