If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
Editor’s Note: This story is updated from the print edition and corrects the information regarding the number of stolen weapons recovered.
By RUSSELL TURNER
Three young adults and four juveniles are facing felony charges in connection to a rash of recent burglaries targeting area gun shops. And, police say, more arrests and charges could be coming.
Law enforcement officials announced late last week they had charged seven people in connection to the burglary of Perry County Outfitters in Beaumont in the early morning hours of March 22. Acting on a tip, officers with the Greene County and Perry County sheriff’s offices conducted a traffic stop last Thursday near the county line in McLain. Police say that stop led to the recovery of two guns from the vehicle that had been reported stolen from the Beaumont store.
From there, authorities shifted their attention to a residence at 1018 Hwy. 57 in McLain. Greene County Investigator Brad Warrick said an initial search of the location led officers to seek a search warrant for the residence, which in turn led to the recovery of another weapon reportedly stolen as well as other evidence believed to be connected to the Beaumont burglary.
Officials took several people into custody for questioning and by Saturday had announced the arrests of seven area residents and the recovery of numerous stolen firearms. The three adults now facing felony charges in Perry County for commercial burglary are Xavier McCarty, 27; Dylan L. Lawrence, 27; and Jeremiah Cochran, 19; all of McLain. Three male juveniles and a female juvenile are facing the same charge. The adults and juveniles have not been charged with any crimes related to multiple similar break-ins in Greene County, but Investigator Brad Warrick said all have been named as suspects.
Juveniles are not named in these cases, unless they are specifically charged as adults. However, Greene County Sheriff Stanley McLeod said he believed the juveniles involved in this case are as young as age 16.
As of Wednesday morning, Perry County officials were saying 12 stolen weapons had been recovered. All of them were among those reported stolen from Perry County Outfitters.
Warrick said Greene County officials have multiple other persons of interests they are searching for, including more juveniles.
The burglary of the Beaumont sporting goods store happened in the early morning hours of March 22. In announcing the arrests on social media this past Saturday, Perry County Sheriff Mitch Nobles provided additional details about the burglary.
“Video surveillance showed several individuals entering the store and taking out several firearms,” Nobles indicated. “The owner of the store arrived at approximately 8:30 a.m. that morning to open up when he noticed that his front door was forced open.”
“When Perry County deputies and the Beaumont Police Department arrived on the scene, an investigation revealed that approximately 44 firearms had been stolen.”
The break-in was one of several over a 2-week period in the area. Sheriff McLeod said his office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) are piecing together evidence from a break-in at Greene County Pawn and Billiards on Main Street on March 16. McLeod said surveillance video from the building shows two suspects entering the store around 10:45 p.m. and making off with eight .9-mm, .40-cal. and .22-cal. handguns. McLeod said the suspects used a hammer to bust out the glass in the business’s McInnis Avenue entrance and to break open the gun display cases.
Just a few days earlier, thieves broke through a rear door of Revette’s True Value in State Line and made off with two pistols from the store. McLeod said at least two suspects were involved in that case.
Thieves reportedly attempted to break into a pawn shop in Waynesboro last weekend as well, but the business’s alarm system apparently scared them away.
McLeod and Nobles said their investigations are ongoing and that additional charges are likely.
Anyone with any information on any of the break-ins or suspicious activity that could be related to them is asked to call their local authorities. Anonymous tips can also be made by calling Mississippi Coast Crimestoppers at (877)787-5898 or by logging on to www.mscoastcrimestoppers.com. Tips can also be reported to the Metro Crimestoppers that serves Perry County by calling (601)964-STOP(7867). Tips that help lead to arrests in the case could lead to a cash reward up to $1,000.