Video from a home security camera and communication between law enforcement agencies in three states led to the arrest of three Monticello teens suspected in a rash of burglaries and thefts in Southeast Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Jake Moore, Jonas Forrest, and Jarett Gray (pictured above from left to right) all 18 and all from Drew County, are each being held in the Drew County Detention Center on arrest warrants from Drew County, Cleveland County and Morehouse Parish, Louisiana, according to a news release from the Drew County Sheriff’s Office.
The trio’s bonds in Drew County are $50,000 each while their bonds in Morehouse Parish are $100,000 each. There is no bond for a warrant issued in Cleveland County.
Lt. Tim Nichols, a criminal investigator with the Drew County Sheriff’s Office, said the suspects are believed to have been involved in more than 30 vehicle burglaries: nine in Drew County, 14 in Cleveland County, three in Bradley County, four in Ashley County, two in Mississippi, and one in Louisiana. Nichols said they may have been involved in burglaries and thefts in Chicot County and Saline County as well.
Items stolen included guns, electronics, cash, hunting supplies,and chain saws, according to Nichols.
Two juveniles, whose names were not disclosed due to their ages, are also suspected in one or more of the burglaries. One of those juveniles likely will be charged as an adult in Louisiana because that state allows a 17-year-old to be charged as an adult, according to Nichols.
The alleged burglaries began on January 21 in Cleveland County and continued southeast into Drew County along Arkansas 35 where the suspects are believed to have unlawfully entered vehicles, stealing property from each, and discarding unwanted items — such as purses and wallets — in road ditches near the victims’ homes.
“Through communication between Drew County, Cleveland County and the Rison Police Department, it was believed that all of those thefts were related and the departments began trying to develop suspects,” Nichols said.
Several days later, on January 23, video from a home security camera in Drew County revealed a possible suspect and a partial description of a vehicle believed to have been involved in the crimes. “Being that the video was not of the best quality more evidence was sought to link the suspect and others to the crimes,” Nichols said.
Meanwhile, law enforcement officers learned that someone had unlawfully entered vehicles in Bradley County.
Over the next few days, law enforcement officers discovered more stolen property in a road ditch not far from a suspect’s residence, and a rubber glove believed to have been worn by one of the suspects.
On January 26, less than a week after the Southeast Arkansas burglaries, Nichols received a call from the Morehouse Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana. That agency believed that suspects seen on an attempted aggravated burglary video were from the Drew County area and wondered if the Drew County Sheriff’s Office could identify the suspects.
The suspects were identified and the information was passed along to the Morehouse Parish Sheriff’s Office, according to Nichols.
“One of the suspects in that video was the same as the one viewed on the (home security video in Drew County) and two others… were believed to have been part of the incidents in Arkansas,” Nichols said.
All agencies involved in the investigation were updated and advised of the new information from Morehouse Parish.
The following morning, law enforcement officers from Cleveland County, Morehouse Parish and Drew County met in Drew County to “try and round up the four known suspects,” Nichols said.
Three suspects were arrested on January 27 and interviewed about the burglaries and thefts. A large amount of stolen property from several jurisdictions was recovered, according to Nichols.
The fourth suspect turned himself in to the Drew County Sheriff’s Office on January 29 and a fifth suspect, a juvenile, was interviewed.
“After completing the interviews with known suspects, it was discovered that areas of Ashley County, Chicot County and Greenville, Mississippi were also impacted by some of the suspects in the same way,” Nichols said. “Communication has been going on between those areas as well as others as far as Saline County.”
Nichols said the suspects cannot remember what property came from what vehicles and they identified some property as being stolen although the owners’ that property have not reported any stolen property.
Drew County Sheriff Mark Gober asks that property owners lock their doors and secure their property.