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Juvenile arrested – Accomplices sought in auto break-ins

Atmore police arrested last week a teenager who is believed to be a principal participant in a string of vehicle break-ins that occurred recently within the city’s southwestern quadrant.

Police Chief Chuck Brooks reported that the 17-year-old male was taken into custody during the wee hours of October 5 after tracking dogs led officers to the spot where he was hiding.

Police were summoned after a resident of the area where the crimes had been reported watched on a surveillance camera monitor as a young man wearing a hoodie came into the family’s garage and tried unsuccessfully to open one vehicle before finding another that was unlocked.

The teen, whose name cannot be released under Alabama law unless he is charged as an adult, is accused of breaking into four automobiles. He was also charged with one count of theft of property when a firearm that was stolen from one of the vehicles was recovered by police along the path the young suspect traveled during his attempt to elude officers.

Brooks said at least three other individuals, including the driver of a car used to help two of the young criminals make their escape, are also believed to be involved in the series of automobile burglaries, most of which occurred in the area along and around Cindebran Drive and Forest Hill Drive.

“There were three of them,” the police chief said. “When our patrol units responded, they all three tried to get into a car, but it sped off. Two of them ran in an easterly direction, to Rockaway Creek Road; the other ran to the west, toward the (wastewater) treatment plant.”

A canine tracking team was sent from Fountain Correctional Facility, and the adolescent suspect was located after a brief search. The dogs tracked the other two suspects to an area near Tower Road, where the police chief said authorities believe the duo finally hooked up with their getaway car.

“We really appreciate the prison sending the tracking dogs,” said Brooks. “Once the dogs got out there, they found him very quickly. We think the other two got into a car. The dogs tracked them to that point before they lost the scent.”

The police chief also reported that authorities have seen a “rash” of auto break-ins at various hotels and motels along Alabama 21, near Interstate 65, over the past several days.

He urged that anyone with information related to either case call 251-368-9141 and report the info to police.