Police arrest break-in bandit

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 21, 2005

DEMOPOLIS – Police recommend car owners always lock their doors before leaving their vehicle parked.

But in a small town, people often feel secure enough in the integrity of their neighbors to just slam the door and head inside.

But Demopolis police this week arrested a local juvenile who should make everyone think twice about securing their automobile.

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Police Chief Jeff Manuel said his investigators caught a suspect who confessed to breaking into cars and stealing cash and credit cards in nine locations around the city.

“This arrest is the product of good investigative work,” Manuel said.

The 17-year-old suspect confessed to the crime after investigators identified him through video surveillance footage from the places he used the stolen credit cards. After confessing, he led police to nine separate locations where he’d stolen money.

Police said the suspect didn’t break into the cars, “he routinely went and shook doors to see which ones were unlocked.”

The arrest, Manuel said, cleared at least 10 break-in investigations spanning the last month. However, police said, they don’t know if they’ve even located all the victims.

“For a lot of different reason, some people just don’t support break-ins,” Manuel said.

He added that some of the juvenile suspect’s alleged victims weren’t even aware they’d been robbed.

The suspect, police said, confessed to stealing “almost $800 in cash,” as well as another $400 he charged on one of the stolen credit cards.

Police are still awaiting a bill on the second card.

“You have to lock your cars,” Manuel said, “or just don’t leave anything in them. That’s what we advise.”

If anyone feels their car might have fallen victim to the break-in spree, Manuel said they should call the Demopolis Police Department at (334) 289-3073.