School burglary suspect's artwork concerns administration

JHS Vandalism

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A man with a long history of run-ins with the law faces burglary charges after police say he broke into Jonesboro High School and stole pizzas and Pop-Tarts. But, it's what he left behind that has some concerned.

Police arrested and charged Derrick Thomas, 18, with commercial burglary; terroristic threatening; criminal mischief; and theft $1,000 or less-from a building.

Sunday afternoon Superintendent Dr. Kim Wilbanks reported Thomas broke into the school, 301 Hurricane Dr., and destroyed some property.

He also created something.

Wilbanks showed Officer Joshua Beasley a collage of girls' photos. Each picture, according to Beasley's report, had the girl's name written on a sticky note.

Another note taped above the photos stated, "Whose naughty places am I touching next."

Wilbanks also pointed out a mannequin on a chair with a wig on its head and "some pink flowers sticking up in its midsection."

Dr. Wilbanks told Beasley Thomas had been criminally banned from the school numerous times. She said the school has gone on lockdown mode several times because Thomas will come to the school and "chant at students and staff."

While responding to the burglary report, Beasley stated he saw Thomas walking in the area.

Beasley contacted Officer Pete Lochner who arrested Thomas a few blocks away from the school and took him to the Craighead County Detention Center to await a probable cause hearing.

Dr. Wilbanks said she is very pleased knowing that Thomas is no longer a threat to their school district now and, hopefully, in the future.

"What gives us great comfort is that the Jonesboro Police Department works so cooperatively with us and acted so quickly to apprehend the suspect," said Wilbanks.

Todd Taylor is a college and career coach with JHS. He is also pleased knowing that Thomas is in custody.

Taylor said he wants the students to feel safer knowing that safety is and has always been the school's main priority.

"We are now making sure that we are keeping our eyes open. We are making sure any stranger walking around without a visitor sticker will be questioned," said Taylor.

Wilbanks also added that she wants parents to look at this situation and teach their children how to be more aware of their surroundings.

"You need to remind your children and your young daughters and sons as well that when they are out that they need to think about protecting themselves and make wise decisions and watch what they do," said Wilbanks.

This was not the first time Thomas has broken into the school. Police arrested Thomas in January after a principal found in wandering the halls. In March, the school's athletic director found him living in the band room.

In May, police arrested Thomas after they found him naked in the street, "enjoying himself." The following month, during a court appearance for that crime, he stripped off his clothes and ran naked into the courtroom.

Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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