Brandon man facing multiple theft charges

Published 9:00 pm Wednesday, January 3, 2018

A Brandon man faces multiple charges in Warren and Rankin counties after his arrest Tuesday by Rankin County deputies.

Morris Sterling Woodruff, 44, 206 Haddon Circle, Brandon, is charged with possession of stolen property and possession of drug paraphernalia in Rankin County. He was being held in the Rankin County Jail in lieu of $6,000 bond and has a hold placed on him by Sharkey County.

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Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said Woodruff faces auto theft charges in the theft of a white Cadillac reported taken from a home in Dogwood Lakes Subdivision on Nov. 13 that was found in Rankin County Dec. 27. He said a hold has been placed on Woodruff by Warren County in connection with the car theft.

“Once we get him back here, we’re going to charge him with auto theft,” he said, adding the case remains under investigation.

Pace said investigators Stacy Rollinson and Jason Bayless are working with Rankin County authorities on the theft, adding they met with Rankin County investigators Tuesday.

The car was recovered Dec. 27 when Rankin County deputies were called to a complaint about a suspicious vehicle. When a check of the car’s vehicle identification number indicated it had been reported stolen from Warren County, authorities here were notified.

According to a Rankin County Sheriff’s Office press release, while authorities there were notifying Warren County about the car, they received an anonymous call that a man who lived at 206 Haddon Circle was asking residents if they knew anything about the Cadillac or where it was taken.

Monday, Woodruff reported a burglary at his home in Brandon, claiming he was missing numerous items from his garage storage room, including a night vision scope, clothes, a small gas heater and hand tools.

While Rankin County deputies were talking with Woodruff at his home Monday, he said he could hear his telephone ringing, adding it must have fallen between the couch cushions. As he was looking for the phone, investigators saw him attempt to conceal what they identified as drug paraphernalia.

The investigators seized the suspected paraphernalia, and Woodruff agreed to let them search the home.

During the search, Woodruff’s fiancée, who shares the house, arrived and asked what was going on. When the investigators showed the paraphernalia, she denied any knowledge of it. She then moved some other items in the room and found a Cadillac key fob, which she said did not belong to her or Woodruff.

Woodruff was then arrested on charges of misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of stolen property.

Tuesday, Rankin and Warren County investigators executed a search warrant on Woodruff’s home.

During the search, they found the Warren County car tag belonging on the Cadillac in a burn pile behind the home and the car owner’s wallet, which was being used by Woodruff and contained his identification.

When they searched the Cadillac, investigators found stolen items that were not from Warren County. The items hidden in the car were the items Woodruff reported being stolen. When the investigators told Woodruff they found the items inside the trunk of the Cadillac, he reportedly said, “Not the camouflaged bag.”

In other cases:

• Vicksburg police are looking for two people who took $15,000 in hunting equipment from a 2015 Chevrolet Silverado pickup parked at the Courtyard by Marriott, 1 Underwood Drive.

Sgt. Johnnie Edwards said a bow, three camouflage body suits, a pair of Muck boots, Hawk tree stand with ladder, film sliders in a red and black bag, SK arrows case, harness, camouflage safety vest, green tool box and box tow were reported taken about 8:56 a.m. Tuesday. He said video from the hotel shows two men in a pickup truck pulling up next to the Silverado.

• Shataria Banks 27, 5007 Award Road, Port Gibson is accused of theft of narcotics in the reported theft of 20 pain pills from The Bluffs Nursing Home during a period from December until Jan. 2, when she was arrested by Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics agents. Initial information indicated she was booked into the Warren County Jail. Bond information was unavailable.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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