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Teen auto theft suspect turns himself in

NATCHEZ — A teenager suspected of stealing a car from Mississippi Auto Direct on Sunday night and taking approximately eight teens on a joyride Monday turned himself in Tuesday to Adams County Sheriff’s deputies, authorities said.

The suspect’s name is not being released because he is a juvenile.

“He was transported to youth detention center by an Adams County Sheriff’s Office deputy, and we are going to have to confer with the youth detention center youth court judge to determine what if anything he will be charged with,” said Natchez Police Chief Walter Armstrong. “It is a youth court matter because of his age.”

On Monday, Natchez police stopped a car on Homochitto Street near the Malt Shop after the car was observed traveling the wrong way on Main Street. After the traffic stop approximately nine juveniles exited the vehicle and fled.

Officers chased the teens on foot through downtown Natchez along South Rankin, Washington and South Union streets.

Eventually, police apprehended eight juveniles but the driver of the vehicle remained at large until Adams County Sheriff’s deputies arranged for the suspect to turn himself in Tuesday afternoon, Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten said.

“I’ve got one deputy that works in youth court, and I have another one that used to work at the high school as a school resource officer, and they had a relationship built with the suspect’s parents,” Patten said. “They were being very cooperative and got the son to come to the house and they surrendered him to law enforcement.”

Patten said he believes it is important for law enforcement to build relationships in the community.

“I tell people all the time, relationships within the community and the people you serve are invaluable and you have just seen two cases of that,” Patten said referring to another incident Tuesday in which the Adams County Sheriff’s Office was able to get an Adams County person of interest in a double murder in Claiborne County to turn himself in. “One was this young man here. We got help from the family for him to turn himself in and then on the case going on up in Port Gibson, Claiborne County, there is another example of good relationships between law enforcement and the community working together.”