Meridian robbery suspect had Warren convictions for theft, eluding

Published 11:43 am Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A suspect wanted by Meridian police for armed robbery of three gas stations in less than 12 hours during the weekend had been released from state custody in June for a conviction in Warren County, according to the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

MPD identified Jimmy Cole Jr., 41, as the prime suspect after a high-speed chase following the third robbery early Sunday.

Cole had been released June 18 from the South Mississippi Correctional Institution in Leakesville, spokesman Tara Booth said.

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At about 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Meridian police were called to a Shell gas station at Mississippi 19 North and North Hills Street after a man went into the store with a hammer and demanded money, WTOK-TV in Meridian reported.

Officers responded to a second armed robbery at 2:47 a.m. Sunday at another Shell station, on 22nd Avenue, where police believe Cole told a clerk he had a gun. At around 6 a.m. Sunday, police believe Cole brandished a beer bottle to clerks at 1031 Highway 39 bypass, police spokesman Mike Vick said.

Three warrants are pending for Cole — three counts armed robbery, one count of stolen vehicle and felony eluding police, Vick said. The chase involved a vehicle believed stolen from his mother, with whom police say he was living in Meridian. Vick said police ended the chase for safety reasons and the car was later found wrecked.

“He has ties in places other than Meridian,” Vick said, adding anyone who sees him or has information is asked to contact Crimestoppers at 601-485-1860.

Cole was convicted in October 2008 in Warren County on charges of motor vehicle theft and felony eluding following the theft of a 2000 Ford Expedition in the parking lot of Vicksburg Montessori Christian School on Paxton Road, Sheriff Martin Pace said.

“The victim had gone in the school to pick up his kids, and his car was taken,” Pace said. “A call went out, and Cole was arrested within minutes on Mississippi 27 after he wrecked the vehicle at the county line.”

After his conviction, Cole was transferred by Warren County deputies to the Mississippi Department of Corrections in March 2009, Pace said. His address at the time was 724 Fox St. in Jackson, Pace said.

Cole had no further history in Warren County, Pace said.