Man matching burglar description caught

Published 12:01 am Saturday, March 1, 2008

NATCHEZ — Natchez Police investigators won’t say “we got him,” but will say a man in custody fits witness descriptions of a serial burglary suspect sought for months.

Detectives say John Arthur Thomas, 41, 130 Ruby Road, Ferriday, has 13 prior burglary related charges in Louisiana, some of which are of inhabited residences.

Eight burglaries of occupied houses have terrified Natchez residents since the rash began in November. In those crimes, houses were broken into in downtown as well as off Jeff Davis Boulevard and in the Duncan Park area.

Email newsletter signup

The police, when searching Thomas’ car after a Saturday morning arrest, found a black leather jacket like the one witnesses described.

Thomas is 6-feet, 5 inches and weighs 235 pounds, which also matches the descriptions provided by two different victims.

Thomas was arrested Saturday morning at approximately 2:30 after police found him walking down Auburn Avenue.

Thomas claimed he was looking for Club Paradise, police investigators said.

The police asked him to turn out his pockets and discovered he was carrying a screwdriver and a flashlight.

He was charged with felony possession of burglary tools.

As officers questioned Thomas, other officers stopped a man who was driving a 1998 Oldsmobile slowly on Magnolia Place, a few streets away from Auburn.

Daniel Butler, 26, 354 Doty Road, Ferriday, was charged with no driver’s license.

Officers later discovered that the Oldsmobile belonged to Thomas and that the two men were friends.

When the car was inventoried, Police Chief Mike Mullins said, a GPS unit was found that was stolen during a car burglary in the St. Charles Street area on Nov. 28.

On Nov. 28, there were also three other car burglaries in the St. Charles Street area.

Police searched Thomas’ house in Ferriday and recovered a pool stick and case that was reported stolen in another car burglary on Nov. 28, Mullins said.

Thomas was held Friday on an $80,000 bond.

Mullins said the investigation on Thomas will continue.

“There will be more charges as more evidence develops,” Mullins said.

Police have learned that Thomas has relatives in Shreveport and frequently travels there.

“We’re communicating with the Shreveport police trying to recover stolen items,” Mullins said.

Police arrested Butler late Thursday afternoon on probation violation charges. He is on Mississippi parole for possession of cocaine. After the police picked him up, he was charged with conspiracy to commit burglary.

Mullins would not say that Thomas is responsible for all the break-ins.

In each case in the rash of burglaries the burglar entered the home between 1 and 4 a.m., while the residents were sleeping. Entry was gained either through an unlocked door, by breaking into a window and unlocking the door or by breaking into a car to obtain house keys.