Hunting camp items returned

Published 12:26 am Friday, August 17, 2018

NATCHEZ — Approximately 20 victims of hunting camp and summer home burglaries were reunited with some of their belongings Thursday morning at the Adams County Safe Room.

Somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000 worth of items — hunting gear, television sets, games, yard equipment and household utilities — where recovered from a string of burglaries that began in April, with approximately $30,000 more items still missing and one suspect still at large, said Jerry Brown, the chief deputy of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office.

Three suspects were arrested by the sheriff’s office this month in connection with the burglaries, Brown said.

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The sheriff’s office currently has a warrant for Daniel Grantham, the brother of Joshua Earl Grantham, 31, who was arrested Aug. 2 in connection with the burglaries, Brown said.

“We put the helicopter up the other day looking for (Daniel Grantham’s) campsite,” Brown said. “We didn’t find it … but we’re going to find him. He can run, but he can’t hide.” 

Related arrests this month were Clinton Kyle Blackwell, 26, and his father Michael Dewayne Blackwell, 52

Shaun Colby Campbell, 22, also was arrested Aug. 2 on a charge harboring Joshua Grantham at 8 Pheasant Road. He was released the following day on a bond of $500. 

Clinton Blackwell was being held Thursday at the Adams County Jail on three counts of possession of stolen firearms with a bond of $50,000 while Michael Blackwell and Joshua Grantham are being held on possession of stolen property charges with bonds of $2,500 and $5,000 respectively.

Don Surmik, of Destrehan, Louisiana, said he and his wife Laurie have a summer house in Natchez that was stripped clean of everything from toilet paper to his yard equipment, but he was glad to have recovered some of his more expensive and sentimental belongings Thursday morning at the safe room.

Surmik laughed at some of the things the offenders did not take.

“They cleaned us out,” he said. “The only thing they didn’t take was my old hunting clothes, but my clothes are so old-fashioned they probably didn’t want them.”

Karen and Terry Stringer have a residence on Dunbarton Road that had been torn apart by uninvited company twice in May while they were at work out of town.

“They vandalized my home,” Karen said. “They kicked my door in. They kicked holes in my walls and my cabinet doors. … It took me a week to clean up their mess.”

Karen said she estimates $1,600 worth of property damages were done to her house, and she could not put a price on some of the things that still have not been recovered.

“A lot of sentimental things are still missing,” she said, “my grandmother’s china, a little square box that was my mother’s when she was 13 years old … my wedding dress, things that cannot be replaced.”

Karen said those who broke into her house could keep the things with a price tag on them if they would restore the things that are priceless.

“I had 150 pairs of shoes — gone. Clothes, gone. … The clothes and my shoes — they can have. Just give me back my grandmother’s china and my mother’s jewelry box.”

Brown said investigators are still working to find the last of the perpetrators and the remainder of the stolen property.

“The investigators and the deputies worked weekends, nights — they put in a lot of manpower … trying to get this stuff taken care of,” Brown said. “They put in a lot of hours. We regret that we didn’t find more than what we did.”

Terry Stringer said he wished he could still recover some of the valuables from his house. “My wife’s wedding dress was pretty important,” Terry said as an example one of the valuables they did not get back. “I just feel blessed to get back what we did. You can commend the law for that. … They’re the ones that need to be praised.”