Three Northeast Mississippi men were jailed here this week, possibly ending a spree of burglaries that occurred in three Mississippi counties and one on Tennessee.
“There may be even more that we don’t know about,” Sheriff Jimmy Edwards said. “That’s why we hope people will read this because the news can be a good tool.”
The local incident occurred July 10 when someone broke into the Dollar General store at Myrtle about 1 a.m. by picking the lock, the sheriff said.
“They went in straight to the safe and hooked a big strap like truckers use to tie down loads to the safe and attempted to jerk it out of the floor,” Edwards said. “The strap broke,” he added and the suspects fled.
Later that same day, officers put the information about the crime out on the NCIC national criminal information computer system, asking about similar burglaries.
“We got a response from Lee County,” the sheriff said. About eight to 10 months earlier a similar crime had occurred at a store in the Pratts community and it was successful.
“They had some suspects so our investigators got with them and compared videos and other evidence,” the sheriff said. “It appeared we were both seeking the same individuals.”
Then, week before last, one of the Union County deputies learned that two Dollar General stores in McNairy County, Tennessee had been burglarized the same way.
“So our investigator went to McNairy County and compared videos,” he said. “It was the same MO.” And they also learned of another burglary in Pontotoc County.
“A couple of days later McNairy County made an arrest (on an unrelated charge) and he turned out to be one of our suspects,” Edwards said.
Union County investigators went back to McNairy County and when the suspect was freed on bond there, they arrested him and brought him to Union County for charges here.
Once the first suspect was in custody officers were able to learn the identities of the other two. “The U. S. Marshals’ Service got the other two Friday in Prentiss County,” the sheriff said.
So the suspects will face charges in all four counties.
Here, they are charged with one count of commercial burglary each and bond was set at $50,000 each. Edwards said two of the three had made bond and been taken to Lee County this week while the third was still in jail here.
“They started this about a year ago and just planned to keep on,” the sheriff said. They got an undetermined amount of cash from the burglaries but nothing from Myrtle since they were unable to pull the safe out. Also, they managed to drag an ATM machine from one of the stores but could not get it open, he said.
“Apparently, one of them was just driving through this area and saw the Myrtle store and thought it would be good,” Edwards said.
The suspects are Marty Clay Holley, 46, of 42 CR 8251, Rienzi; John Hodum, 27, of 2110 Norman Rd., Corinth; and Jerry Ralph Carpenter, 46, of 10 CR 1252, Booneville.
Sheriff Edwards said the three are apparently just friends. There was no word about whether any of the stolen money had been recovered.