Thursday, March 22, 2012
Sheriff’s deputies investigate theft of school computers
By SUE WATSON
Marshall County deputies have detained a student at H.W. Byers regarding two break-ins and the theft of 14 computers from the school library, according to sheriff Kenny Dickerson.
The first break-in took place February 24 when two computers were stolen, he said. The second break-in was discovered by the librarian upon returning to school March 19 after spring break.
The Apple laptop computers are valued at about $12,000-$13,000 total and sheriff’s investigators were trying to locate them Tuesday.
Dickerson said the library was entered through a window. The librarian, upon returning to school Monday, noticed a metal safe, where the laptops were secured, had been damaged.
The juvenile has been charged with two counts of burglary, the sheriff said.
In another incident, sheriff’s deputies were called to investigate the suspicious attempt of the sale of a welding machine at a business on Highway 309 South in the Watson Community February 29. When the investigator arrived, a Kentucky man was questioned and Byhalia Police Chief Gary Looney was notified to come and assist. During the investigation, the pickup driven by suspect Ralph E. Willis Jr., 36, of the 400 block of Highway 1554, Owensboro, Kentucky, was determined to have been stolen.
Officers attempted to take Willis into custody and a scuffle ensued, Dickerson said. Further investigation uncovered that Willis was wanted by the Kentucky Bureau of Investigation regarding the theft of properties valued at about $5 million, the sheriff said.
Willis is charged with receiving and possession of a stolen 2009 GMC four-door pickup. Kentucky authorities are seeking extradition of Willis to face charges there, Dickerson said.
The sheriff is also seeking tips regarding break-ins at four churches in the Chulahoma community area on Highway 4 West, including the theft of the safe from Lighthouse Apostolic Church near the Marshall/Tate county line. Anyone who has information that may help investigators with tips that could lead to the arrest and charging of suspects is asked to call the sheriff’s department at 662-252-1311 and ask for investigations.
Alternately, callers may leave tips anonymously with Marshall County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-729-2169. All information is kept strictly confidential.
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