By David Helms/Pontotoc Progress
A 15-hour manhunt for two suspects wanted in connection with the alleged burglary of a pharmacy in Sherman ended at 5 p.m. Wednesday (Jan. 2) when two Tupelo men were arrested on Prewitt Road east of Pontotoc, reported Pontotoc County Sheriff Leo Mask.
Mask said that Donald A. Brown, 26, of South Green Street, Tupelo, and Preston C. Copeland, 22, of West Jackson Street, Tupelo, were arrested by officers who found the two suspects hiding in an old unoccupied mobile home on Prewitt Road.
Brown and Copeland are charged with allegedly burglarizing Sherman Drugs around 1:45 a.m. Wednesday and then leading officers on a high speed chase which led to a full-fledge manhunt when the suspects abandoned their vehicle on Prewitt Road and ran off into the woods.
Sheriff Mask said Brown and Copeland are charged with burglary of a commercial building (pharmacy), felony malicious mischief and possession of burglary tools.
Copeland, who was allegedly driving the suspects’ vehicle, is also charged with felony fleeing, Mask said.
“We got a tip from the public late Wednesday evening concerning their whereabouts and they were arrested without incident and were unarmed,” Mask said.
As of Thursday afternoon, no bond had been set for the two suspects, who were still awaiting an initial appearance in court, Mask said.
Sherman Police Chief Joel Spellins said the incident began around 1:45 a.m when officers responded to an alarm at Sherman Drugs, located at 670 Highway 178 in Sherman.
“The suspects had cut the phone line, used a crow bar to rip the electricity meter off the building and busted in the front door,” Spellins said.
Spellins said a high speed car chase ensued which included police officers from Sherman, Ecru, Tupelo, Pontotoc and Pontotoc County Sheriff’s deputies.
Officers chased the suspects from Sherman to Tupelo, then along the Belden/Endville Road, the Longview Road and finally onto Prewitt Road where two men bailed out of the car and ran into the woods, Spellins said.
Spellins said that K-9 units from Union County and Pontotoc County Sheriff’s Departments, assisted by a helicopter unit from Tupelo Police Department, led the search for the two suspects.
Officers from the U.S. Marshal Service, Wildlife and Fisheries, Mississippi Department of Corrections and Constable Early McKinny also assisted in the manhunt.
Officers had been combing the countryside for about 15 hours when someone phoned in a tip.
“We found them holed up in that mobile home about a mile from where they had jumped out of the car,” Spellins said.