City has rash of vehicle burglaries

Published 12:23 am Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A rash of vehicle burglaries has occurred in the past month, striking residents across the city.

From January to March there were only two reported vehicle burglaries filed with the Picayune Police Department. That number increased in April to six, and in May there were eight reported vehicle break-ins. Four arrests were made in May for some of those burglaries, said Deputy Chief David Ervin. So far, there have been two vehicle burglaries this month.

The most recent arrest was of 17 year-old Jeremy Cyntear Turner of Carriere who was charged as an adult with felony vehicular burglary on May 30, reports state. Timothy Nixon, 18, of Picayune was arrested May 6, along with a juvenile accomplice for similar charges when an officer came across Nixon apparently stealing rims off of vehicles. Evidence collected during the investigation allegedly linked Nixon and his juvenile accomplice to some other vehicle burglaries that occurred in late April at a local car repair shop. Nixon and the juvenile were charged with attempted grand larceny and grand larceny.

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Days later the department established evidence to link Johnny Bolton, 28, of 1421 Seventh Ave., with the alleged crimes committed by Nixon and the juvenile. Bolton was charged with conspiracy to commit a crime, accessory after the fact and directing a juvenile to commit a crime, records state.

So far in June there have been two reported vehicle break ins so far in June, one on June 3 and the other on June 5, according to police reports. Ervin said no certain area of the city is more prone than another to a vehicle burglary, citing burglaries across varying areas of the city.

Ervin said the department is looking at all possible aspects of the crimes and are not focusing on one age group.

There are ways that residents can reduce the risk of having their vehicle broken into. Ervin said moving valuable items normally kept in a vehicle out of plain sight or out of the vehicle altogether will prevent a great many of the vehicle burglaries.

Valuable items can include GPS units, satellite radios, car radios, cell phones, lap top computers, mp3 players, wallets and purses, packages and any form of money. Some GPS units can be locked with a passkey, so if they are stolen they will be unusable by the suspect. Most car stereos are equipped with removable face plates, so removal of those face plates could reduce car break-ins. Purses sometimes contain personal information such as social security cards, check books and credit cards. Ervin suggests removing any documents containing personal information from vehicles and keeping them in a safe place outside the vehicle.

The department has worked cases in the past where personal information was taken from a vehicle. Although it appears the information was not linked to identity theft within the city limits, Ervin said that does not mean identity theft did not occur in other jurisdictions.

Ervin suggests not only removing these items from vehicles or placing them out of sight, but also removing or hiding the accessories that go with them, such as power cords and mounts.

Officers have been working a special detail to apprehend vehicle burglary suspects, as happened in the case of Nixon and his juvenile accomplice.