Car thefts increasing in Picayune

Published 6:47 pm Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Incidents of stolen vehicles are apparently increasing in Picayune.

An attempt to steal a car at a local gas station is believed to involve the same suspect involved in a recent Wal-Mart area parking lot incident and a separate incident involved two stolen cars from the Woods subdivision.

On July 14, an attempted car jacking occurred at about 10:30 p.m. at the Spur gas station located on Memorial Boulevard, said Capt. Holly Krantz.

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A woman at the gas pump apparently was attacked by a man who approached her and asked her if he knew her. The suspect grabbed the victim and pinned her against the vehicle, telling her not to say anything, Krantz said.

Going against the suspect’s wishes, the victim yelled, causing the suspect to run behind the gas station.

He is described asbeing slender stature and standing about 6 feet, 3 inches tall, wearing a dark shirt, dark jeans, and longish hair. The victim also recalled that the suspect had crooked teeth.

Investigators believe the suspect could be the same one involved in the stabbing and car jacking at the Wal-Mart parking lot a few weeks ago. Previous statements identified the suspect as either a white or Hispanic male. Krantz said further investigation has established the suspect is more likely to be a white male.

Due to the suspect attempting to use the Wal-Mart parking lot victim’s credit card in New Orleans, police believe that he has ties to that area, Krantz said. The car stolen in the Wal-Mart parking lot is still missing.

A separate incident between July 7 and 8, involved a group of male suspects who rode into town in an allegedly stolen vehicle from New Orleans. They rented a room at the Picayune Inn and apparently stole two more vehicles and various items from the Woods Subdivision, Krantz said.

An unrelated traffic stop on the vehicle from New Orleans found several stolen items in the car. Before the driver of the vehicle could be arrested he eluded capture by running away on foot, Krantz said.

Surveillance tapes from the Picayune Inn showed that about four suspects were staying there. One of the cars stolen from the Woods Subdivision was recovered at the motel but the other car from the Woods Subdivision is still missing.

Police have not determined if all three incidents, the Wal-Mart, the Spur gas station and the Woods Subdivision, are related, Krantz said.

Due to the recent events, Police Chief Jim Luke asks residents to be vigilant and watch for suspicious people. He reccomends people park in well lighted areas at night and to not walk alone. Car doors should be locked and valuable items kept out of sight.

Anyone with information about these incidents can call Crime Stoppers at 601-799-CLUE (2583) or Krantz at 601-798-0374.