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|Interrogation leads to burglary bust in school robberies|
Four suspects are behind bars and three area schools are thankful to have stolen computers and televisions back in the classroom after a burglary interrogation led to the arrest of suspects in a series of school break ins last month.
Winnsboro Chief of Police Lester Thomas said officers from his department were interviewing a suspect about an unrelated burglary when they discovered the trail of information that led to the Nov. 24 arrest Joseph McMillian, 28, of Winnsboro on charges of burglary, criminal damage to property, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, accessory after the fact and possession of stolen property. Franklin Parish chief deputy Kevin Cobb said the ordeal began Nov. 14 with the burglary of Crowville Elementary.
According to Cobb, the suspects broke down doors in the school and stole several laptop computers, televisions and other electronics before conducting the same type of burglary at Winnsboro High School.
"We had a lot of damage to property where they broke into the school and busted down the doors," said Cobb. "They reported the theft several laptops and televisions and a palm pilot and digital cameras."
Several nights later, the suspects attempted to burglarize Winnsboro Elementary but failed, Cobb said.
Following the arrest of McMillian and the juveniles, Ouachita Parish deputies arrested Eddie Shaw, also of Winnsboro, on similar charges conneced with the burglaries.
In both arrests, law enforcement officials discovered much of the burgled property.
"We were able to recover the bulk of everything," Cobb said. "The officers who worked the case did a good job with recovering the property."
Thomas said his office is still working to recover the last of the property held by Shaw, adding he expected most of what was stolen to be returned to the schools.
"It was laptop computers and televisions and things that they use to teach the kids every day," Thomas said. "It was important to break the case."
Thomas credited the hard work of investigators at both the Winnsboro Police Dept. and Frankin Sheriff's Office with cracking the case.
"I'm proud of my officers for doing such a great job," Thomas said. "One unrelated burglary that we worked in Winnsboro led to the rest of these burglary charges."
Both Cobb and Thomas said their departments are returning the stolen property to the schools as it is recovered because the items are all used to teach students.
McMillian is being held in the Franklin Correctional Center in lieu of $20,000 bond. Shaw's bond has been set at $10,000, but could climb once all charges against him are logged.
The two juveniles are in detention, awaiting a juvenile hearing to determine the course of action in their cases.