Alleged frozen foods thief leads police on chase

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 31, 2005

NATCHEZ &045; A one-hour foot chase involving 10 law enforcement officers from three different agencies and a large quantity of frozen food led to the arrest of Charles William &uot;Billy&uot; Nelson Wednesday.

Nelson, 33, 506 North Rankin St., was seen riding a stolen bike just before noon near North Union Street. Officers investigating a string of downtown burglaries, including the bike, attempted to stop Nelson, who abandoned the bike and fled on foot, Police Chief Mike Mullins said.

Nelson then led Natchez Police, including Mullins and the police dog, Adams County Sheriff’s Office and Department of Transportation officers on the foot chase that went down St. Catherine Street, over to McCabe Street, through the woods near John Quitman Boulevard, across Melrose-Montebello Parkway, onto Roselawn Drive and through the McLaurin Elementary School playground, Mullins said.

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When Nelson approached a bayou in the woods behind McLaurin and officers threatened to release the dog, he surrendered, Mullins said.

Nelson was charged with burglary of a residence on South Rankin Street and had warrants for his arrest for contempt of court (failure to pay) for a driving under suspension arrest from April, possession of drug paraphernalia and contempt of court failure to show up on work release.

Officers found items suspected stolen from a house on North Pearl Street with the bike. The items included frozen steak, sausage, biscuits, chicken nuggets, turkey, wieners, ham, pecans and several bags of candy bars.

Mullins said he has not yet located the owner of the frozen foods.

Mullins said a variety of areas around Natchez were affected by the chase and he was grateful for cooperation from citizens.

&uot;Quite a few citizens called in when they saw him running,&uot; Mullins said. &uot;They helped us keep informed as to where he was when we would lose him.&uot;

Children were on the playground at McLaurin when the officers ran through, Mullins said.

&uot;The officers had to run across a corner of the playground, and the teachers saw us and pulled the children back,&uot; he said. &uot;The school properly got the children off the playground and into the building.&uot;

The investigation is ongoing, and Mullins said Nelson may later be connected to more burglaries.

&uot;It’s very common when you have several burglaries in an area to have the same suspect,&uot; he said. &uot;It’s routine for us to try to connect them.&uot;

The downtown burglaries have been in the last several weeks.