Alleged parish burglar arrested

Published 2:39 pm Friday, February 29, 2008

VIDALIA — When law enforcement officials arrested the man suspected of numerous burglaries in Concordia Parish Friday, he wasn’t defiant. He was cowering in the bathtub.

Cornelius Jermaine Kelly, 23, 824 Hospital Road, New Roads, was arrested on charges of simple burglary Friday afternoon. An investigation into break-ins at four Vidalia businesses early that morning led police to his motel room at the Budget Inn on Carter Street.

“He (Kelly) heard us talking outside the door, and so he hid in the bathroom,” Police Chief Billy Hammers said. “The only way he could have escaped that room was to kick out the air-conditioner, and we were watching for that.”

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The Vidalia Police and the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office made the arrest in a joint effort.

“Everyone has worked tirelessly since the burglaries first began and this is still under investigation,” Sheriff Randy Maxwell said.

The first of the burglaries, at B and J Auto Detailing, was discovered at approximately 3 p.m. by a police department patrol, Police Chief Billy Hammers said.

Soon thereafter, burglaries at Wendy’s, Popeye’s and Home Hardware were discovered.

Fingerprints lifted from the scene were matched to those of the suspect in multiple burglaries throughout Concordia Parish, Hammers said.

The suspect reportedly told police he had taken approximately $2,000 from Home Hardware, approximately $900 from Popeye’s, $50 from B and J, and an undetermined amount of cash from Wendy’s.

Law enforcement officials were reportedly able to identify Kelly by a photo taken of him by a security camera during a break-in at Kentucky Fried Chicken in Ferriday last week, Hammers said.

When they entered his motel room, the police allegedly found some of the stolen items in the room, Hammers said.

The police believe Kelly might have had help, Hammers said.

No bond was set for Kelly Friday afternoon.

Vidalia Investigators Delayne Bush and Chuck Hall, and crime scene processor Mari Gray worked the case.

CPSO Investigator Jack Fletcher was also integral to the arrest, Hammers said.