Suspect caught in auto burglary

Published 12:07 am Sunday, June 19, 2011

The son of a local glass business owner was caught in the act breaking into a vehicle in the North Hill Subdivision.

Arrested was 25-year-old Darren Jude Champagne Jr. of 28 Lands End Dr., Carriere for the charge of automobile burglary.

Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Shane Tucker said the department received a call on Wednesday at 4:18 a.m. from a resident in North Hill that he had caught a man in his vehicle in the middle of the night. Tucker said the vehicle was unlocked.

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The victim stayed on the phone after catching the suspect red-handed stealing money from the vehicle while it was parked in the victim’s driveway. The victim confronted the suspect, and declared he had a gun telling the suspect to get to the ground. Tucker said at first Champagne complied, until he realized the victim was bluffing. At that point Champagne fled on foot, with the victim in pursuit on foot.

The victim was able to relay the direction in which Champagne fled. Tucker said Champagne was found a short while later hiding in some bushes by Cpl. Daniel Quave and taken into custody for the charge of automobile burglary.

Later the victim was able to positively identify Champagne as the suspect who had stolen the money from his vehicle. Investigators later found a golf cart in the driveway of the victim’s neighbor, Tucker said the golf cart belonged to Champagne’s father, who owns a local glass company.

Tucker said there have been other car burglaries in the south end of the county, but investigation into those continue.

“While we’ve had other auto burglaries in the area we have yet to tie him to any others at this point,” Tucker said.

While the victim’s actions during the crime helped with the apprehension of Champagne Tucker does not advise such action.

“The victim did very well but we don’t encourage every victim to do that,” Tucker said.