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Louisiana man charged in Frontage Road burglaries

[06/13/01] A Louisiana man was arrested and charged Tuesday with last week’s string of 13 business burglaries here, but may never come to Mississippi again.

Matt Matranga, 40, Farmerville, was being held in the Ouachita Parish Jail in Monroe, authorities said. There, he faces charges of more than 30 burglaries of Louisiana homes and businesses.

Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said Ouachita officials called his office Tuesday with information about the burglaries committed in Vicksburg all along South Frontage and Halls Ferry roads on June 5, and another burglary in the county on U.S. 80 two days later.

Sheriff’s Department Detectives Randy Lewis and Mike Traxler went to Monroe and, after an investigation, charged Matranga with the burglary of Rebel Welding & Industrial Supply at 180 Highway 80.

Pace said the investigation would continue today and another arrest could be made.

Capt. Mark Culbertson said Vicksburg Police charged Matranga with the remaining 12 break-ins.

“We want to extend our thanks to the people in the sheriff’s department in Monroe for all their help,” Culbertson said.

Pace said Matranga, who is also on probation for another charge in Louisiana, will have to complete all his court appearances there before he can be extradited.

“It could be quite a while before he can be brought over here,” Pace said.

An undisclosed amount of cash was recovered from Matranga at the time of his arrest in Monroe, Pace said.

Vicksburg Police had said cash was the target of the burglaries, because other items of value were ignored.

An hourlong power outage on the night of June 4 was originally suspected to have played a part in the thefts, but police later dismissed that theory.

The first break-in was reported at 5:34 a.m. June 5 by an employee at Fabra Care Cleaners on Halls Ferry Road. That report was then followed by one from China Doll restaurant, 3425 Halls Ferry Road.

Three businesses were hit in Dixie Plaza shopping center, including The Print Shop, Tan-Tastic Tanning Salon, both at 1808 S. Frontage, and El Sombrero Mexican Restaurant, 1820 S. Frontage.

About a mile down the road, Hice Medical Uniforms Outlet, Initially Yours Monograms and Designs, The Stork’s Nest, Stitch-N-Frame and Gina’s Hair Effects, all at 2222 S. Frontage Road, were entered and ransacked.

Also burglarized was Ponderosa Steakhouse, at 2640 S. Frontage Road, and Sun Koon, 3535 N. Frontage Road.

Entry was gained to each business after glass in the front door was broken out.