Friday night crime spree in Tupelo not an epidemic, according to police

By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Despite having an armed robbery, grand larceny and a robbery attempt happen only hours apart Friday night, Tupelo police say there is no reason to believe the crimes were anything more than unfortunate incidences.
Tupelo Police Capt. Chuck Bunn said even though it’s disturbing to have had three robbery-type calls in a short period of time, it doesn’t necessarily mean a larger problem is brewing.
“One of the crimes was just a crime of opportunity,” said Bunn. “The suspect saw the money and took it. One didn’t have time to develop as a crime because the potential victim saw something that scared him and drove off before an encounter happened. Now, the third incident was an armed robbery and that is very serious. When you have a person pulling a gun on people and robbing them, that is serious.”
The first crime happened shortly before 6 p.m. when a man allegedly took $10,000 from an ATM machine at Sprint Mart on Eason Boulevard. Bunn said the man took the money when the person servicing the machine stepped away from it. He said witnesses saw him take the money and gave a good description of him and the vehicle he drove away in. Shortly after, police arrested Michael Crump in Southern Heights and charged him with grand larceny in connection with allegedly taking the money from Sprint Mart. He is in the Lee County jail.
Only $8,000 was recovered. Bunn said the suspect claimed he gave $2,000 to another man. It is unclear if anyone else will face charges for the grand larceny.
The second happened at a bank on South Gloster Street when a man went to drop money in the night deposit box. Bunn said the man saw a black man approaching his car with what looked to be a weapon in his hand. He said the man drove off before anything happened.
But just minutes after the bank incident, a man walked into the Sonic Drive–In on South Gloster at 10:48 p.m. and robbed the business at gunpoint. The suspect fled the scene on foot and got into what witnesses said was a small red car with two other black men. He is described as a black male standing about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing about 170 pounds. He has not been found by police.
Because of the close proximity of the incident at the bank and the armed robbery at Sonic, Bunn said police are investigating to see if the same person was involved in both.
“At this point we don’t know,” said Bunn. “We know the incidences were close to one another in time and location, but we can’t say the same person was involved. But this is something that is very serious and we are working very hard to find out exactly what happened and who is responsible.”
Bunn said he can’t say why the crimes happened when they did, but said he didn’t think the warm weather had anything to do with it.

Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or danza.johnson@djournal.com.