Pursuit of burglary suspect leads lawmen from Pontotoc to Tupelo

BY SANDI P. BEASON

Daily Journal

Police are still searching for at least one burglary suspect who remains at-large in the Tupelo area.

Pontotoc County Sheriff Leo Mask said his department was called to investigate a burglary in the northern part of the county around 10:30 a.m. Monday.

“One of the residents, a relative to the homeowner, gave a description of the vehicle,” Mask said. “The (relative) sees the vehicle at another residence. He knocks on the door and a black male runs out of the house.”

The suspect got into a red Ford Taurus and fled the scene, Mask said, and the man who reported the burglary shot at the vehicle. He began pursuing the car, and was joined by sheriff's deputies and Sherman police in the chase.

No one was injured, Mask said. The gunshot shattered the back glass of the suspect's car, said Tupelo Capt. Bart Aguirre.

The pursuit led officers onto West Jackson Street in Tupelo, and Tupelo police joined the chase. It ended at West Jackson and James streets, Aguirre said.

“The suspect fled on foot,” Aguirre said. “We found a lot of merchandise in the vehicle.”

Aguirre said police have identified the suspect, but his name and description were not released. Mask said the suspect was picked up in a gold Geo Metro with Florida plates belonging to the suspect's mother, whose name was also withheld.

She was taken into police custody for questioning after she answered a call made by police to the suspect's cell phone, Mask said.

“We're going to charge her with accessory or something because she picked them up,” he said.

Across county lines

Alcorn County Sheriff Jimmy Taylor said the suspects in Monday's chase may be linked to more than 40 burglaries from Oktibbeha to Alcorn counties, and even McNairy County, Tenn., roughly following U.S. Highway 45.

“In two burglaries in Alcorn County, it was something around $10,000 taken,” Taylor said. “Nothing has shown up yet. Nobody has found any of it.”

Many of the burglaries have similarities, he said, and all occurred near U.S. Highway 45. The burglars took anything from laptop computers to guns to jewelry, and recently a knife collection was also reported missing.

“They were messing with the phone lines, kicking down the doors,” he said. “One in McNairy County, Tennessee was burned. … We were looking for a maroon to red car involved in our burglaries.”

Monday's burglaries occurred near Highway 78, Mask said, so the burglars may be shifting their path.

“We're going now to look at another place,” Mask said late Monday, of the search for the suspects. “We're riding around and looking at some places.”