Sheriff decries state animal cruelty laws, while announcing arrests in string of burglaries

Published 10:02 am Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Thanks to around the clock work by four Warren County Sheriff’s Office detectives, four arrests have been made and stolen items recovered in a spree of burglaries that occurred Saturday and Sunday.

However, one Warren County family is still suffering this morning because those burglars shot and killed their beloved family pet.

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Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said Tuesday morning four juveniles — three age 17 and one age 16 — are being held and each face charges of three counts residential burglary and one count animal cruelty.

“The first and most disturbing burglary was reported at about 5 p.m. on Saturday in the 100 block of Rancho Road, off U.S. 80, just each of Vicksburg,” Pace said. “The family came home to find that their house was broken into and their 8-year-old, beloved family pet had been killed. They found it in a pool of blood in the home.”

After shooting the pet, the burglars made off with several electronic items.

A second burglary was reported just before 5 p.m. on Sunday in the 5,000 block of Bovina Cutoff Road. The victim reported missing three firearms, bottles of prescription medication and some old coins, Pace said.

“While deputies were processing that scene, another call came in at about 8 p.m. of another burglary of a home on Warriors Trail near Newmans,” Pace said.

One of the homes was equipped with a security camera and captured the juveniles on video during the burglary. Officials from the sheriff’s office published that video on Facebook, which Pace said was a help identifying the suspects.

“We have recovered most of the stolen property with the exception of the firearms,” he said. “It’s most disturbing that we have not located those.”

Pace credited the thorough, determined work of lead Det. Stacy Rollison, Det. Sam Winchester, Det. Jason Bailess and Det. Todd Dykes with the apprehension of the suspects.

“They worked around the clock on this,” Pace said. “In one of the burglaries, a witness was able to give a good vehicle description and the investigators have gathered lots of good forensics.”

On Monday, the detectives served two separate search warrants and located and seized the vehicle — a black Ford Expedition — thought to have been used in the burglaries and also recovered stolen property out of the vehicle, he said.

All four of the suspects are being held in juvenile detention, awaiting action of the youth court.

“It is the discretion of the youth court judge as to whether to leave the cases in youth court or whether the suspects should stand trial as an adult,” Pace said.

He said Mississippi’s laws dealing with animal cruelty are too weak to provide justice.

“I think it is a disgrace that Mississippi’s animal cruelty laws are so weak that the killing of this family’s pet in order to facilitate a home burglary is only a misdeameanor in the state of Mississippi,” Pace said. “If someone breaks into a home and kills a family pet, it’s only a misdeameanor in the state of Mississippi. The killing of that animal in order to carry out a burglary should in and of itself should be a felony.”