by Emily Waldrep
A suspect is in custody after three midnight burglaries occurred on West Bluff Street in Woodville on January 10.
The string of burglaries began when an alarm was activated at the State Farm Insurance office in the 400 block of West Bluff Street. Officers responded to the alarm at approximately 12:45 a.m. When they arrived at the business they discovered someone had broken the rear window of the building in an attempt to gain access through the window, but was unable to make entry.
According to Woodville Police, it appears the suspect attempted to enter through the back door but left after the alarm was activated. Officers recovered evidence at the burglary scene, which included blood evidence that was observed in the interior of the building, along with shoe prints from the suspect on the exterior of the building.
Later that same morning, officers were dispatched to the 1000 block of West Bluff Street to two more business burglaries, which were discovered when they opened that morning. Gail's Jewelry Box and Sanderson's Bookkeeping had both been burglarized and sustained a fair amount of damage, due to doors and walls being kicked down, along with broken glass.
"It appears that the suspect broke a window to gain entry into the building, which is a complex of several store fronts," said Captain Mike McCulley of the Woodville Police Department. "Once inside the building the suspect rummaged through all the offices and desks looking for what we believe to be money."
The suspect entered Gail's Jewelry Box through the wall of Sanderson's Bookkeeping and rummaged through the building, taking a large list of items, including $4,000 in cash inside of the register, along with purses, costume jewelry and nail supplies.
Gail Snider, owner of Gail's Jewelry Box, said that it has been a challenge to keep up with sales and sales tax on paper without her register that was stolen.
According to McCulley, evidence collected at the scene connects all three January 10 burglaries. Officers also suspect they all happened around the same time frame.
Officers found surveillance video of a suspect in the area just prior to the alarm being activated. Shortly after reviewing the footage, officers received a call from Livingston Police Department stating that they had apprehended a suspect involved in some business burglaries and that he was discovered to have some of the property missing from the Woodville burglaries. He was also reported to have had fresh cuts on his arms and hands, which would match up with the blood in the State Farm burglary.
The suspect, currently in custody in Polk County, is also a person of interest in the burglary in Woodville. He is also a wanted fugitive from the parole board.
His name is not yet released, pending the investigation.
"That was just a little bit of luck and communication with other agencies," McCulley said. "That is what helps solve these crimes sometimes, and that is exactly what this case is."
There have also been two prior burglaries reported by the State Farm Office in 2013, and officers are looking into whether the same suspect could be involved in those burglaries as it is confirmed he was in the area during that time period. The method of entry was also similar.
The Booster will provide updates on the case as they are available.