Break-in suspect held after chase

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, September 7, 2005

MONTICELLO – Attempts to loot stores in the wake of HurricaneKatrina has not been limited to the devastated coastal regions,officials said.

One man was in custody after allegedly breaking into Hudson’sDrugs in this Lawrence County town and leading law enforcementofficers on a half-hour chase at speeds in excess of 100 miles perhour. And a separate break-in at a pawn store is still underinvestigation, Monticello Police Department Capt. Charles Whitesaid.

Police Officer Bill Thompson was checking doors around 3 a.m.Sunday when he found that the door of Hudson’s Drugs had beenforced open. As Officer Brock Landrum was pulling in to assistThompson, a vehicle sped away from the scene and Landrum chased thesuspect, White said.

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Landrum followed the car along back roads to Prentiss, downHighway 13 to Progress and onto St. Stephens Road to re-enterLawrence County at high speeds, Landrum said.

At some point in the chase, Landrum said, he was joined by twoDeSoto County Sheriff’s Department patrol cars that had beenassisting the town as part of hurricane relief efforts. The threeofficers managed to stop the suspect’s vehicle on St. Stephens roadnear the Jefferson Davis-Lawrence county line, Landrum said. TheDeSoto County deputies have since returned home.

Johnny Newport Jr., 30, of Jayess, had with him a galloncontainer full of pills allegedly taken from the drug store,Landrum said. Newport also had five firearms police said werestolen from a home earlier that night.

Newport has been charged with commercial burglary, driving underthe influence, felony evasion, possession of a firearm by aconvicted felon, possession of a controlled substance, recklessdriving and a few misdemeanor traffic violations, Landrum said.

Newport has also been charged with burglary of an occupieddwelling by the county, White said.

Law enforcement officers are still seeking a suspect in the Aug.29 burglary at Peck’s Buy and Sell, the captain said.

White said the door was knocked out around 10 p.m. and 14firearms were stolen the night Hurricane Katrina ripped through thestate. Ten of the guns were recovered in the woods behind WestoverApartments the next day.