Car burglary suspect nabbed

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 12, 2010

NATCHEZ — They got him.

After more than two months of searching for the fugitive car burglar, Willie Edward “Tight Knight” Knight, Adams County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested the veteran criminal in Jefferson County early Saturday morning.

Knight, 54, 141 Tubman Circle, was charged with one count of burglary of an automobile and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

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And more charges are on the way, Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said.

Mayfield said Knight is believed to be responsible for a string of more than 10 car burglaries in U.S. 61 South neighborhoods.

Most of the burglaries occurred between March and mid-July in the subdivisions of Beau Pré, The Meadows, Southfork Estates and Waverly Road.

Mayfield said community informants gave him information approximately a week ago suggesting Knight was hiding out north of Adams County.

Thursday, he received tips that Knight was in Jefferson County, and Friday night Mayfield and eight ACSO deputies moved in on the house in a rural area where Knight was supposedly staying with a relative, Mayfield said.

Jefferson County Sheriff Peter Walker and a JCSO deputy helped ACSO deputies sneak through the woods and surround the house before Mayfield and some his deputies moved in.

When law enforcement entered the house, Knight was in the front room and immediately ran for the back of the house, where Mayfield said Knight’s guns were kept.

After a brief struggle, deputies tased Knight and placed him under arrest at approximately 11:45 p.m., Mayfield said.

Knight was officially booked at 1:43 a.m. Saturday.

ACSO seized two handguns from Knight, which Mayfield said he believed were stolen.

Mayfield said the situation was dangerous because Knight was likely feeling desperate because he knew deputies were searching for him.

“(Knight) kept begging us not to kill him, but other than that he didn’t really say anything,” Mayfield said.

Mayfield said he feels lucky to have caught Knight, who he described as “jumpy,” and “wary.”

“He’s well known (to the sheriff’s office), and every time it gets harder and harder to catch him,” Mayfield said.

At one point last month when the ACSO heard no news for weeks on Knight’s whereabouts after patrolling and working the case every day, Mayfield said he suspected Knight might be dead.

“I began to wonder if maybe out in the woods something may have happened to him,” Mayfield said.

Mayfield said Knight’s hiding spot was in an obscure enough location that it would have been nearly impossible to find him without the help of community informants.

“Where (the location) was, he could have stayed there for the rest of his life,” Mayfield said.

Mayfield said the one-story house belonged to a female relative of Knight’s, who Mayfield believes was a cousin.

The ACSO is investigating the possibility of charging the woman with harboring a fugitive, Mayfield said.

Other charges being investigated against Knight include an enhanced charge of possession of two firearms by a convicted felon, more car burglary charges, failure to register as a sex offender, attempted rape and aggravated assault.

Mayfield said the ACSO received report from a woman last week accusing Knight of attempted rape and aggravated assault.

“With his past, (Knight) could very well be looking at life (in prison),” Mayfield said.

Knight’s criminal record dates back to 1972.

“This needs to be his last rodeo, because if he gets out, he’s going to start again,” Mayfield said.

Mayfield said the summer-long search for Knight is the longest he has had to chase someone with an arrest warrant on him.

“It’s pretty exciting and pretty interesting,” Mayfield said.

“I’m glad it’s over.”