Five suspects arrested for residential burglary scheme

Published 7:00 am Saturday, February 10, 2018

Almost three months of investigation into a residential burglary by the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department resulted in the arrest of five individuals.

Chief Investigator Marc Ogden said the case began with a call from a concerned citizen in the early morning hours of of Nov. 20, 2017, who caught two individuals in the process of burglarizing a neighboring home along Eddie Hariel Road near Poplarville.

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The suspects fled in a vehicle parked outside, and the neighbor was in pursuit until the suspect vehicle crashed and the suspects were able to escape on foot, Ogden said.

Based on the information provided by the neighbor, deputies went to the scene of the crash and recovered a number of guns from the vehicle, which were later found to have been stolen from the home. Ogden said that inspection of the victim’s home determined the suspects made entry to the home and then forced a gun safe open before removing them from the residence. 

Preliminary investigation into the case identified a potential suspect, 26-year-old Joseph Schmidt of 56 Gilligan Road, Poplarville so the department secured an arrest warrant for him. Several attempts to find him were unsuccessful, but the continued investigation led the detectives to find more stolen property from the home at a Slidell, La., pawnshop. Ogden said it appeared as though the neighbor caught the suspects in the act of multiple trips to take items from the home.

Records kept at the pawnshop indicated the items were pawned by 23-year-old Alyssa Spiers of 5015 Mason Necaise Rd., Perkinston. When the detectives spoke with her about the stolen items, she and her boyfriend, 26-year-old Jacob Tillman told them that Schmidt called them one day to meet at a location in Hancock County, where he presented them with a television and crossbow, asking her to pawn the items because Schmidt didn’t have identification.

The case got a break when detectives learned that Scmidt’s wife would be visiting her probation officer at the Mississippi Department of Corrections office in Gulfport on Wednesday. When the detectives learned that Schmidt was in the vehicle outside the MDOC office, detectives took him into custody that day and he was booked in the Pearl River County jail for a residential burglary warrant. Continued investigation into the case determined that Schmidt’s accomplice during the November residential burglary was 38-year-old Dennis Henley of 209 Highway 53, Poplarville and that the victim’s son, 27-year-old Jacob Hariel, of 27 Eddie Hariel Rd., had set the burglary up and assisted in the crime. The detectives also learned that Spiers and Tillman were involved in the burglary, leading to arrest warrants being issued for all of them, Ogden said.

Tillman and Spiers were arrested Wednesday for residential burglary and conspiracy to commit residential burglary, Ogden said. Hariel was arrested on Feb. 2, for residential burglary, conspiracy to commit residential burglary, simple assault and probation violation. 

After learning he was wanted for the crime, Henley told detectives he planned to turn himself in this week, but never showed. As a result, detectives continued to look for him and later received word that he was in the area of Barth Road just after 6 a.m. Friday. Ogden said a deputy went to the area to capture Henley, but he fled at a high rate of speed, passing two school buses filled with children, when the deputy attempted to conduct a stop.

Later that same day, detectives learned that Henley was in the area of Possum Fork Road in Hancock County, leading them to contact the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department to request assistance in apprehending the suspect. Officials with both departments staged up in the area and later saw him in a vehicle driven by another person. A stop was conducted and Henley was taken into custody without incident for residential burglary, conspiracy to commit residential burglary, Ogden said. He also expects to add the offenses of felony possession of a weapon by a convicted felon and felony eluding to Henley’s list of offenses.