In an outstanding example of community teamwork, the Pell City Police were able to recover a stolen gun within three hours of the theft. On July 19, at approximately 5:30 pm, Cpl. Rebecca Cruce responded to Pell City Gold and Pawn on a call of a stolen firearm. Cruce began an investigation and it was determined the gun , a .380 Bersa pistol, was stolen earlier in the afternoon from Jim's Pawn in Pell City. The suspects were at Pell City Gold and Pawn attempting to determine the value of the gun and buy ammunition. They had left prior to Cruce’s arrival.
The suspect’s descriptions and vehicle description were broadcast in a BOLO for the area. Pell City Sgt. Don Newton was also on the scene and, when he heard suspects were trying to buy ammunition, had Central Dispatch call Walmart and ask them to notify police if the suspects came in attempting to buy ammunition.
Within approximately 15 minutes, police received a call that two of the suspects were in Walmart and Officers Dennis Meeks and Mac Pruitt were dispatched to Walmart. The suspects had already left, but witnesses called Central Dispatch giving a direction of travael and then additional specific location information. Investigator Rick Oliver and Deputies Matt Mullinax and Jacob Mitchell of the St. Clair County Sheriff’s office responded to assist.
Pell City Investigator Bonnie Lomeli and Officers Jake Riley and Wesley Hazel also responded. The vehicle was located in a wooded area off of Marshall Lane and three suspects were taken into custody.
The weapon, wrapped in a shirt, was discovered in a grassy area near the vehicle. Lomeli, while searching the vehicle, found evidence which led to the closing of an unreported burglary from earlier in the day in Pell City. A fourth suspect was later taken into custody.
“The quick closure of this case in an outstanding example of what can happen with swift cooperation of local agencies and citizens,” Chief Greg Turley said. “The police, dispatchers and sheriff’s deputies, combined with quick, reliable information from citizens all worked together seamlessly to lead to the resolution of this theft and solving of an additional crime.”