Officer’s action nets bank robbery suspect

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Brookhaven Police Chief Pap Henderson said an early Sundaymorning arrest in the city has resulted in a Louisiana manconfessing to six bank robberies in Louisiana and Mississippi.

At 2:53 a.m. Sunday, Sgt. Clint Earls stopped a small pickuptruck. Earls had observed the driver acting suspiciously whiletalking on a pay phone at a Highway 51 convenience store, Hendersonsaid. The chief said the officer became suspicious after gettingconflicting stories from the men in the truck.

“They said they were lost, and then said they were supposed togo to a deer camp,” Henderson said.

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However, Earls did not see any weapons in the vehicle and soughtpermission to search the truck. Permission was given, and a searchconducted after back up law enforcement officers arrived, the chiefsaid.

In the vehicle, officers found fake ID cards, papers for makingblank Social Security cards, a computer printer, a handgun,lock-picking tools, methamphetamines and other items.

“They also found chemicals to make methampetamines,” Hendersonsaid.

Gene Allen Bonds, 26, of Ponchatoula, La., and John Earl JordanJr., 39, of Baton Rouge, La., were arrested and charged withpossession of methamphetamines, possession of a firearm, possessionof burglary tools and possession of precursor chemical to makemethamphetamine. Bonds, who is on parole, is being held for theLouisiana Department of Corrections, Henderson said.

Following further investigation Monday, Henderson said FederalBureau of Investigations officials questioned Jordan in connectionwith six bank robberies in Lafayette, Alexandria, Monroe andSlidell, La., and Pass Christian and Laurel, Miss. Jordan matchedthe description in a flyer, containing bank surveillance cameraphotographs, distributed by the Laurel Police Department.

“He confessed to those six last night,” said Henderson, addingthat Bonds had not been connected with the bank robberies.

Arraignment for the men on the city charges was scheduled forTuesday morning in Brookhaven Municipal Court, Henderson said. Thechief said the FBI is placing a hold on Jordan related to the bankrobberies.

Henderson credited Earls on his thorough police work.

“Sgt. Earls did a fantastic job as far as patrolling andchecking this out,” Henderson said.

Henderson said everyone who is stopped by police is not guiltyof a crime. However, it is important that officers check out anysuspicious activity.

The chief said he believed the men were planning some kind ofcrime in Brookhaven, but were thwarted by Earls’ actions.

“I strongly believe that would have happened if Sgt. Earlshadn’t been doing his job,” Henderson said.