Police Investigating Looting After Ice Storm

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A Jonesboro man is behind bars for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars worth of electronics and other items. Police said Luther Leroy Jones, 23, was found at 905 Locust Road Saturday night after receiving a call from the family living inside.

According to the police report, the family heard someone walking upstairs. Upon arrival, Jonesboro Police discovered a loaded 9 mm handgun on Jones, and several other items in a dark Buick LeSabre in the driveway. The car had fictitious tags, registered to a Maxima. Another suspect, Sheila Davis, was inside the car as police approached.

Following Jones' arrest, officers found several flat screen TVs, digital cameras and other items at his apartment.  Estimated worth was between $7,500 - $10,000. Detective Mike Branscum with JPD said 90% of the recovered items have been returned to the owners.

Police said Monday the investigation is ongoing, and more suspects could be named.

ANOTHER BURGLARY

Jonesboro Police Monday were made aware of another home burglary at 721 Valley Drive. Carl Heringer said a small black lockbox was stolen from his home sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning.

"I went to my house Saturday morning to pick a few things up and I noticed that the front door had been kicked in, so I started looking around and I noticed that somebody had been in the house," said Heringer.

Heringer's home lost power Tuesday night when the ice storm came in. It wasn't restored until Sunday morning.

"I came over here, and this door was open like this, like all this stuff at the bottom of the closet was pulled out and in the back right here is where we kept our lockbox, and it was missing," said Heringer.

Heringer, a father of two children, said he thought he lived in a safe neighborhood. "I guess considering the circumstances where everybody was out of power, I don't guess that there was anywhere that was too safe you know."

Heringer Monday closed all bank accounts and changed his credit cards that were inside his lockbox. He also talked to various credit agencies to ensure his identity was not stolen.

Police said people who are victims of criminal activity suffer twice as much after a natural disaster. "These people are already victims of the weather, now they're by these guys actions, they're made victims of a crime," said Branscum.

Branscum said Monday people can take simple steps to protect their property when not at home.

"I would let as many neighbors know as possible, hey I'm not going to be at my house could you please keep an eye on it, call the police if you see any suspicious activity, any vehicles that you don't recognize, and certainly go by and check your house on a daily basis," said Branscum.

Branscum said the best way to keep your home protected is to stay there.

PARAGOULD MISSES OUT ON EXPECTED ACTIVITY

The city of Paragould has also had its share of burglaries, but not as many as expected. Officials with the Paragould Police Department Monday said three burglaries have been reported since Tuesday night. Normally, police said, the city receives 5 or 6 burglaries.

"Out of those 3 burglaries it looked like two of them were more of a survival type burglary, there was one burglary where we had blankets stolen and some wrenches and another burglary we had a small amount of cash," said Det. Michael Addison with Paragould Police.

Addison said increased patrols working overtime during the storm and the magnitude of the storm's strength were factors in deterring criminals from committing crimes.

Police said 2 homes and 1 commercial building were burglarized.

"2-3 shifts per night, which actually running low 20s, mid 20s on officers working because we had the power outages and we were kind of suspecting that we might get broke into quite a bit," said Det. Addison.

Police Monday also reported two vehicle break-ins since the ice storm.