Return of stolen gun surprises former judge

By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Retired circuit court judge and attorney Frank Russell knows chances are slim that something stolen in an auto burglary will ever be recovered.
So Russell was shocked when police told him they had his pistol that was stolen from his truck weeks ago.
Like many victims of auto burglary, Russell had left his truck door unlocked and a bag on the seat, which is like a light to a bug for would-be thieves. The truck was parked in front of his home in the Westside subdivision.
“I honestly never thought I’d see that pistol again,” said Russell, “So when the detective called me to say he’d recovered it, I was more than surprised. I worked 18 years as a judge and I know how rare it is to have property recovered.”
Last week, police arrested and charged Kevin Crawford, 22, of 1018 Bickerstaff and Antonio Smith, 24, of Shannon with three counts of auto burglary, one of those being the break-in of Russell’s truck. Crawford’s bond was set at $150,000 and Smith’s at $30,000. Both remain in the Lee County jail.
Bunn said the two suspects are being investigated for at least 12 other auto burglaries.
Capt. Chuck Bunn said it’s a rare occurrence for property to be recovered after three weeks.
“But we were able to track a lot of it down and get it back to the owners,” Bunn said.
Russell’s gun was given to him and engraved with his name by an old friend. Its handle was given to him by another close friend. That didn’t matter to the thieves, however.
“To them it was just a gun,” he said. “But to me it was a lot more than that.”
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or danza.johnson@journalinc.com.