As the campaign season gets more heated, there are a few Arkansas legislative candidates who have been overlooked during the recent national uproar regarding Republican candidates Charlie Fuqua, Jon Hubbard, and Loy Mauch (The Three Stooges) outlandish comments on slavery, race, and dealing with ‘unruly’ children.

Take, for example, Republican candidate Dwight Hoyle, running for House District 69 against Democratic incumbent Betty Overby.

Hoyle was arrested for filing a false police report in 1996.  Oops.  It’s not hard to believe the State Republican Party’s vetting of candidates missed an arrest record if they missed the glaringly offensive and obvious problems of The Three Stooges.

Here is what happened. It seems Hoyle reported lawnmowers stolen from his place of business to the police. Hoyle was likely working away or already finished with the insurance claims if you believe the police reports, when something weird happened.  Police officers spotted the “stolen lawnmowers” in Hoyle’s front yard.

According to two police reports filed with the Clarksville Police Department, Dwight Hoyle reported a theft of 5 riding lawn mowers from his business, valued at a total of $9,238.  After Hoyle reported the theft to the police and insurance companies, Deputy Sheriff Larry Jones gave the Clarksville Police a tip that a blue Dixon mower showed up at Hoyle’s house.

Jones had been at Hoyle’s house because he had reported a burglary. Hoyle signed a “permission to search form,” at which point, a Clarksville police officer found one of the riding lawn mowers on Hoyle’s property. The officer, Greg Donaldson, then arrested Dwight Hoyle “for filing a false report,” adding that “a prosecution report will be done requesting felony charges be filed.”

From the report:

“On 06/10/96, Dwight Hoyle reported the theft of five lawn mowers from his place of business. Deputy Sheriff Larry Jones had been checking Mr. Hoyle’s house because he had reported a burglary. On Friday, 06/14/96, Deputy Jones advised me that a blue Dixon mower had shown up at Mr. Hoyle’s resident. On 06/17/96, Mr. Hoyle came to the police department for a copy of the report. I asked for permission to go to his house to look at this mower. He signed a permission to search form. At his resident, I recovered a Dixon ZTR 3303 riding lawn mower, serial #46879, which is one of the ones he reported as stolen. I verbally read Mr. Hoyle his rights in the presence of Deputy Jones. Mr. Hoyle stated that he had just made an honest mistake, however, he could not produce a serial number for the fifth mower that was supposedly stolen, other than the one that was recovered at his residence. I have talked to Dixon Industries, Inc… and Mr. Hoyle reported five lawn mowers stolen to him. I also talked to Glen West with Group W Insurance and Bobby Wallace with Trinity insurance and Mr. Hoyle also reported 5 lawn mowers stolen to them.  On 06/17/96, I arrested Dwight Hoyle for filing a false report and judge Bradley OR’D him. A prosecution report will be done requested felony charges be filed. A subpoena needs to be obtained for Dixon Industries, Trinity Insurance and Group W Insurance.”

While Hoyle claimed at the time the incident was “an honest mistake,” it will be interesting to see if this is an issue raised with voters in the campaign season.   It would be easy to liken it to attempted insurance fraud in the throws of the campaign season, but Hoyle may be able to get out in front of it with claims he had the charges dropped or what a court outcome may have been.

I contacted Hoyle this morning and left him a message for a response.  I’ll update this post when I hear back from him.

Either way, it seems the people at the state GOP responsible for vetting their candidates in 2012 may not be boasting of this election season on their resumes.

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Michael Cook
Michael Cook is the moderator for his opinion blog, Cook's Outlook. He can be reached by e-mail at Michael@CooksOutlook.com. Follow him on Twitter: @mcookAR or on Facebook: facebook.com/CooksOutlook.