Suspect admits to multi-county crime sprees

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Lawrence and Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department officials saidthey’re rather in shock that Bryan Martin has confessed to at least58 burglaries in possibly eight counties, and especially that he’sstill not done talking.

“They’re still kind of sorting out what all he has and hasn’tdone,” said Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing, who said Martinhas been tied to eight crimes so far in Lincoln County.

Martin was arrested in Lawrence County two weeks ago in a foiledhome invasion and has been busy ever since, Lawrence CountyUndersheriff Willie Wallace said, being shipped from county tocounty showing investigators places he has hit.

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“He has a vivid memory,” said Wallace. “We’ll take him somewhereand we’ll ask him, and he can say if he did it or not.”

It’s unusual that a suspect is willing to give up the amount ofinformation as Martin has, Wallace said, but he seems to be wantingto clear his conscience.

“Most people don’t talk as much as he has, but he says he wantsto get it all out and over with at one time,” Wallace said. “I canunderstand that. If you’re going to give it up, give it allup.”

So far, Martin is tied to crimes in Lawrence, Lincoln, Walthall,Amite, Pike, Marion and Simpson counties, and will be at thedisposal of Copiah County authorities Tuesday to help track downhomes and autos he might have targeted.

Wallace said Martin traveled without a real destination most ofthe time, preying on cars with visible purses and stealingprimarily money from homes. Most of his hits were crimes ofopportunity.

“He was just riding the roads, stealing the purses mostly atnight,” he said. “He’s brave enough, if the car’s unlocked he’lljust open the door open and get it by breaking the window. He casesthese places pretty good.”

And it wasn’t just in parking lots that Martin would strike,Wallace said. Even cars in their driveways were not safe.

“This guy was pretty brave to go to someone’s house at night andbreak a window and get a purse out of it, with you in the houseasleep,” he said. “He did it so fast, he had a hammer, one lick andhe was gone. He didn’t tarry.”

Meanwhile, Martin’s method of operation was different for thehome burglaries, as he struck when homeowners were away, officialssaid. And there’s some possibility that he might have actuallyburgled at least one home in Louisiana.

“The main thing he was looking for in the houses was money,”Rushing said. “He came in looking for straight cash. He took a fewbelongings here and there, but he didn’t seem to know how to getrid of them.”

Officials said Martin did not deal with credit cards or checksin purses that he stole either. He seemed to know better than totake anything that could be traced back to him. Some of thebelongings, however, he gave away, officials said.

Wallace said there is no way to tell how many burglaries willeventually be chalked up to Martin’s spree, which they believebegan back in August.

“We’re still talking to people in different counties, and Copiahis coming tomorrow,” he said Monday. “Right now we’re up to 58, andit might be more than that because Pike did eight one day and wentback the next and I didn’t get another count after that.”

And there was a deterrent, Wallace said. When Martin went fromhouse to house deciding which one to strike, he did mention onething that kept him away.

“He’s scared of dogs,” Wallace said. “He’ll tell you, ‘Therewere dogs there and I left.'”