Four Arrested in Batesville Burglaries

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Batesville police believe arrest of four solved safe burglaries

By Billy Davis

The arrests last week of three men and one woman ended a string of burglaries in Batesville and rural Panola County, police said Monday.

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Batesville police fingered Jeremy Yarborough, 19, as the ringleader who oversaw a scheme to steal safes from businesses.

In Batesville, thieves struck Batesville Tire and Muffler on July 13, taking a Sentry safe from business owner Ricky Swindle.

A safe was also stolen from Western Sizzlin on September 13. Thieves broke a rear door to gain entry into the restaurant and broke through an office door to get to the safe.

In addition to Yarborough, police announced the arrests of James Dewey Boyd, Laura Elizabeth Lemley, and Bobby Alan Turner, all of Courtland.

Police also allege that the thieves took a lock box from a Pope church, Hosanna Family Worship Center, and burglarized a home as part of their crime spree.

Lemley acted as a driver while the others committed the thefts, said BPD Chief Tony Jones.

Jones said all four defendants are charged with burglary and grand larceny.

The unsolved case began to come together last week when a Grenada County resident, who had been a burglary victim, visited BPD Detective Paul Shivers, the lead investigator on the burglaries. 

Jones said the Grenada man met with Shivers on Tuesday and by the end of the day authorities were looking for Yarborough. 

Jones said Yarborough is now in the Panola County jail after he escaped capture and led Grenada authorities on a three-county chase. The alleged ringleader was eventually arrested in Yalobusha County and transported back to Grenada, where he was mistakenly allowed to make bond.

“The sheriff’s department thought he was facing misdemeanor charges,” Jones said. “So he was allowed to bond out and had to be picked up again.”

“But he’s in our jail now. He’s not going anywhere,” said BPD Detective George Williford.

Shivers was attending a law enforcement class Monday and was unavailable for comment.

According to Swindle, the Grenada resident had been “relentless” in pursuing the thieves who had stolen $14,000 from his safe. Yarborough and Turner had been ticketed in Grenada for speeding on the same night as the theft, and the resident brought that information to Shivers. 

“Paul knew about Yarborough because he had broken into the church, and it started from there,” said Swindle, who contacted The Panolian last week to report the arrests.

Swindle said one crime still unsolved, however, is the theft of a Husqvarna self-propelled lawnmower from his Oakwood Acres home.

Swindle said he believes one of those arrested for the theft at his business and Western Sizzlin has first-hand knowledge about the theft of his lawnmower.

“What I want to know is who bought it because they had to know it was hot,” Swindle said.