Officers solve two holiday robberies

Published 2:55 pm Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Two reported incidents of robberies occurred in Picayune over the holidays, but both were solved a short time after they occurred.

The first of the two incidents took place on Dec. 20 when the owner of B+M Lighting went to his business to pick up an order for a customer just after 3 p.m. When the owner entered the business he could hear voices coming from the warehouse, prompting him to check it out, said Capt. Chad Dorn with the Picayune Police Department.

In the warehouse the owner saw three juveniles and noticed a pressure washer had been moved, apparently while the three juveniles were attempting to steal it, Dorn said. The owner held the juveniles at the business until police officers arrived, at which time all three 17 year-old juveniles were arrested for commercial burglary, Dorn said. He said it appeared the juveniles gained entry to the business by breaking out a window while the business was closed for the day.

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In a separate incident that occurred Sunday  a man was waiting outside of Winn Dixie on the south end of town for a friend to arrive. Dorn said at that time the suspect, which the man knew, pulled up and asked the victim to get into the car, which he did.

The suspect then drove to an area behind the nearby Pizza Hut where he pulled out a can of mace or pepper spray and demanded all of the victim’s money, Dorn said.

In response the victim gave the suspect $200 in cash, Dorn said. The victim was then allowed to exit the vehicle at that location behind Pizza Hut and began to walk back to his car. Dorn said as the victim was walking back to his car he saw the suspect’s vehicle pull up to the victim’s car and a second unidentified black male get out and dig around in the victim’s vehicle.

The victim reported to officers that when he got to his car he noticed two cell phones were missing from his car, allegedly taken by the second unidentified black male, Dorn said. The victim was able to provide officers with a description of the suspect he knew and of the vehicle, Dorn said.

A description of the vehicle and suspect was sent out to Picayune Police officers and to officers with surrounding agencies in the area. About three hours later the Picayune Police Department got a call that the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department had located the suspect vehicle driving around, Dorn said.

Dorn said the suspect, identified as 18 year-old Walter James Mason of 610 Charlotte Dr., was brought to the Police Department and taken into investigative custody and was later charged with the strong arm robbery. Dorn said the second suspect in the vehicle has been identified but the officers are attempting to locate him to ask him some questions before releasing his name.