A criminal menace in Harrisburg is leaving a trail of grief in his path

Photo taken by Stanley Stickler.

When Jim Foster was asked for the hand of his beautiful daughter in marriage, he thought it was a respectful moment from his future son-in-law. He gave his blessings. Little did he know, he was inviting a nightmare into his family.

The nightmare’s name was Roy Sims III.

Before it was over, Sims would sneak into the Fosters’ home, stealing items, pawning them for cash, taking checks out of the back of the bank book to write for thousands of dollars, and that’s all just the surface.

Despite Sims currently having felony warrants for his arrest, he’s living in Harrisburg a free man.


The Long Fall

It doesn’t seem like Sims always made such negative impressions with those around him. Foster thought highly of the young man in 2014 enough to give his 24-year-old daughter’s hand in marriage. Sims worked at Lowe’s loading lumber during the summer, went to physical therapist school, graduating as a PTA, and eventually working at HealthSouth. He seemed to have his life together.

On October 3, 2014, the young couple were married.

Several weeks later, Foster noticed a large quantity of prescription pills missing from his bedroom. It was one of the first signs of trouble but at the time, no one knew who the suspect was. Months later, he would learn who the culprit was: the man who was now his son-in-law. Sims spilled his guts to the family and admitted he did it.

“He’s come into our house and stole from us,” Foster said he thought of the situation in disbelief.

I asked Foster if he recalled any life events changing around that period of time which could have caused Sims to fall into a troubled state.

“In his case, he was a sorry piece of crap and it finally surfaced,” Foster said.

His frustration and anger are very understandable. But in October, 2014, Foster still trusted Sims. That began to change when not long after the wedding, he said Sims wrecked his own car. He told the family he had paid cash for it. Foster learned that was a lie when a repo-man showed up to take possession of the uninsured wrecked vehicle. Other instances like this made the father-in-law more and more suspicious.

As months passed, Foster began to notice items pilfered throughout his home. Of note, a debit card was stolen from the house. Foster confronted Sims and his son-in-law denied it and denied ever even being where the card was used. When Roy III had finally dedicated himself to the assertion he was innocent, Foster pulled out photos of the security footage showing Sims using the stolen card. Foster pressed charges but Sims promised and pleaded with him to drop them. He said he would change and “never do it again.” Sims was in occupational therapy school and still had a promising career and future as part of the family. Foster dropped the charges because of this.

At the time of that promise, Sims had not fully come clean. Later on, Foster discovered other items which were stolen from his home. From the back of a checkbook, two checks had been taken and an attempt to cash out $2000 was made on the account. Fortunately, the bank denied the request to cash the unusual check. Foster learned Sims had taken the checks, which he once again admitted to and begged forgiveness. Sims even admitted to the family he had an opiate addiction and that he committed these deeds while feeding his addiction.

“He’d steal anything that wasn’t nailed down,” Foster said.

The thefts didn’t stop but they did get worse. Sims took numerous items from his trusting wife. Once, he told her he was taking her wedding ring to be cleaned. It was instead found months later at a pawn shop. He took a computer under the guise he was having it cleaned – and pawned it for cash, Foster said. He also did the same with a camera.

The final straw came when a ring was stolen from Foster’s home and later found in a pawn shop. That resulted in Sims being barred from Foster’s house. Foster pressed charges on all of the aforementioned incidents he could and this time, he refused to drop any charges.

As one might expect, with Sims spiraling out of control, the marriage fell apart during this period. Even though they had separated, Sims continued twisting the arm of his ex to give him money. He would gain unauthorized access to her PayPal account, Foster described, when he wasn’t asking her for cash directly. One night, it went too far. Sims was staying at Motel 6 on Caraway Road and wanted $200. He had been tasked to take care of the household finances but instead of paying bills, he was paying for pills, and it resulted in an eviction notice. A shouting match erupted that left his wife in tears. He got $50 but he would never get anymore from this family.

Emotional, Foster’s daughter returned home with two words. “Where’s Dad?”

Both mother and father of the upset young lady worked to calm her down. Enraged, Foster intended to go to Motel 6 that night. His family begged him not to and he finally told them he wouldn’t go that night.

He didn’t say anything about the next morning, though.

At 8 AM, Foster went to the shabby motel and said he persuaded the front desk clerk into giving up Sims’ room number. Foster, in his 60s, had a “walking cane” he took with him in the form of an ax handle. He knocked on the door, shouting “Come out, Roy.”

“You’re a coward, Roy,” Foster said, through text, to Sims. “Your days of bullying [my daughter] are over.”

Fortunately for Sims, he never answered the door. JPD arrested him later that day after being given his address by Foster, who said Sims had no issues answering the door then.

Although Foster’s experience with him has spanned many years, he said he now just wants to see Sims arrested and in a correctional facility for his years of abused trust.


Modern Menace

On March 11, 2018, Sims was pulled over at 5:23 PM by Jonesboro Police Department and found to have a suspended license, a meth pipe, and a small quantity of meth near him. On June 27 Sims failed to appear in Craighead County Circuit Court on charges of possession of a controlled substance – meth, and possession of drug paraphernalia – meth – both felonies. An arrest warrant was issued by the court.

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Sims. 

Around this same time, his probation in Craighead County for criminal mischief, a plea he took for his actions against the Foster family, was revoked by a judge. Another warrant was issued.

On August 9, 2018, two arrest warrants were issued by Craighead County Circuit Court for Roy Lee Sims, 3rd. He failed to appear on two more cases: felony theft of a firearm, and a larger case of identity fraud where he was charged with theft of property in excess of $5,000, fraudulent use of a credit card or debit card greater than $5,000, and financial/identity fraud. His bond was $15,000.

Mickey Layne of Gulley Bail Bonds wrote the $15,000 bail for Sims and has since been looking for the fugitive in cooperation with law enforcement in the county and Harrisburg. Layne knows where Roy has been staying but the slippery Sims has evaded authorities multiple times.

“We’ve been to his house and he got out of there before we got there,” Layne said. “The Poinsett County Sheriff’s Office has been there four times and he got out of there.”

Sims has been living in the attic of the home of Rose Smith, 102 Winters Street, Harrisburg. Because the home has been built onto several times, the attic requires navigating around partition walls. Layne said it took him 15 to 20 minutes to completely search the attic for Sims. Because Sims also has security cameras installed, he has a window of time to flee authorities.

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Photo taken by Stanley Stickler.

“The day we got there, there’s train tracks beside the house and I think he got out of a side window to run to them,” Layne said.

With the heat on Sims, it might seem logical for him to lay low. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem he’s capable of doing that at this stage of the spiral.

Stanley Stickler is no stranger to Sims. For one, his sister-in-law is Sims’ new main-squeeze, Rose Smith. However, Stickler was a victim of Sims multiple times, including as recently as this month. On November 7, he was moving from his old residence to a new one. With much of his stuff still boxed up, he said Sims broke into his home and stole several thousand dollars worth of items.

“We were moving and he broke into our house,” Stickler said. “Stole a bunch of little [stuff], probably just $2,000 worth. [I] really don’t know what all he stole.”

Stickler fears he will never retrieve his stolen belongings because Sims has taken from so many others – and taken so much more. He knows this from experience.

On September 6, 2017, a 55-inch TV, PS4, cable box, drone, a box full of watches and more were stolen from Stickler. Not long after, he watched police put cuffs on Sims for the crime (featured photo).

After posting about it on social media, Stickler received several messages he later said Sims admitted sending to him during a conversation in the presence of a police detective.

Poinsett County Sheriff Kevin Molder confirmed both his department and Harrisburg Police Department had been looking for Sims for some time, in addition to having dealt with him before. The sheriff said his department arrested Sims in 2017 for JPD. He said he planned to encourage deputies to make extra attempts to get Sims off of the streets.

The situation is reaching a breaking point. For many, they’re tired of being victims and seeing new ones created by the same individual. Yet, the train seems to be off the tracks with no hope of anything short of a crash ending. With Sims hiding in a house, and putting his accomplice at risk for charges for obstructing justice and harboring a fugitive, even family is keeping their distance.

“I think everybody in his family is kind of done with him,” said his bondsman, Layne. “He’s been stealing from them, too.”

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