Written by Wayne Dowdy
The Jackson Police Department has identified a suspect and issued a warrant for his arrest following three campus thefts that Millsaps security officials believed are related.
A man jumped the fence twice in December 2019 and stole televisions from Susanna Hall and the Leggett, Millsaps campus security officials said, but no suspect could be identified.
But when a man jumped the fence on Jan. 19, and stole a student’s vehicle, Millsaps security officials believed the man who stole the car was the same man who previously stole the televisions based on security footage.
Jackson police tracked the stolen vehicle through its OnStar system and were able to identify a suspect and issue a warrant for his arrest, John Conway, Millsaps director of campus safety, said on Feb. 20. The name of the suspect has not been released publicly.
On Dec. 18, 2019, one day after the beginning of winter break, a man entered campus by climbing over the fence, Conway said. The man entered Susanna Hall through a door that was unlocked and stole two televisions from the Susanna lounge and lobby areas. The man exited Susanna and escaped over with the televisions by going back over the fence.
Three days later on Dec. 21, 2019, a man who Conway believes to have been the same person entered campus, again going over the fence, and went into the Leggett. The man unsuccessfully tried to remove televisions from the Leggett Living Room area before going upstairs to Student Life. There he found a television, took it with him and escaped again.
Following those two December thefts, campus security increased the frequency that they checked dorm building doors to make sure they were properly locked. As a precautionary measure, security removed the remaining televisions in the Leggett Living Room for the rest of the winter break. The Hinds County Sheriff’s Department and the Jackson Police Department were also informed of the thefts, but no suspects were identified at the time.
On January 19, 2020, a man entered campus for a third time by hopping the fence. He entered the Lambda Chi Alpha house through an unlocked door and found a car key fob. He found the corresponding car in the parking lot and drove away.
The car was recovered the same day with coordination between the Jackson Police Department, Millsaps Campus Security and the car owner’s parents who had access to the vehicles OnStar system.
In an interview about the thefts, Conway said that “it takes every single one of us” to be safe, and that while campus security can patrol the campus, “to get one hundred percent security requires community involvement.”