Officer glad to hear of man’s arrest

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Wesson Police Officer Philip Sterling can now rest easy.

When the Trustmark National Bank in Wesson was robbed atgunpoint on March 27, Sterling faced the tough choice of attemptingto apprehend an armed serial bank robbery suspect or preventing anyinjury to the people of the community by avoiding a confrontation.With public safety in mind, he chose the latter.

Sterling welcomed Friday’s news that the suspect had beenarrested.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“This guy was dangerous. No matter where he was caught or whocaught him, he’s caught,” said Sterling. “The best thing that canbe said is that he’s off the street.”

Scott Eason Meece, 31, an attorney from Hammond, La., wasarrested Wednesday and charged in the March 27 robbery in Wesson,said Jason Pack, an agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigationsin Mississippi. So far the Wesson robbery is the only one Meece hasbeen charged with, but charges are possible in several other bankrobberies.

Sterling said Wesson police had done everything possible tocontinue helping in the investigation, including e-mailing photosfrom the Wesson robbery to banks and law enforcement agencies allover the country.

“There wasn’t a lot of publicity about him until he robbedWesson,” he said. “We sent pictures from Atlanta to Reno, Nevada.Someone ID’d him from the pictures.”

Pack said police received a tip that a person matching asurveillance photograph from a robbery at the Wesson bank wasliving in Hammond, La. That tip seemed even more viable whenauthorities spotted a red Nissan and a blue Volvo at Meece’s house- cars that matched the description of the getaway cars in all therobberies that are attributed to him.

“It’s hard to run from the Internet,” said Sterling.

Meece, who was caught on Interstate 12 in Tangipahoa Parish iscurrently in the Madison County Jail.

Pack said Meece confessed to the bank robbery in Wesson, as wellas heists in Laurel, Terry, Newton County, and Tylertown. Sterlingsaid he was told by the FBI that Meece also confessed to robberiesin Alabama and New Orleans.

Wesson police were not alone in believing that Meece’s cooldemeanor and seeming fearlessness of being recognized pointed tothe fact that not only was he confident, but also dangerous.

“I’m happy. We’ve worked on this since the robbery happened,”said Sterling. “We felt like it was a matter of time before someonewas hurt, and we’re glad he’s off the street, because he wasdefinitely a threat.”