BIGBEE, Miss. (WTVA) — Local authorities have cracked what appears to be a major burglary ring in North Mississippi.
Around 2 a.m. Sunday, Nettleton police came across a break-in in progress.
When officers moved in to investigate, the burglars fled.
"He blue lighted them," says Jackie Wimberley, Nettleton police chief. "They proceeded to flee from us down Highway 6 into Tupelo."
That's where the Lee County Sheriff's Department and the Mississippi Highway Patrol set up a roadblock to stop them.
Authorities believe 36-year-old Gregory Moore of Amory had been involved in numerous burglaries in Mississippi for quite some time. They say he targeted commercial buildings and churches and stole items such as laptops and safes.
"We think that Mr. Moore is involved in as many as over 100 break-ins in North Mississippi," says Cecil Cantrell, Monroe County sheriff.
Authorities believe the people who are responsible for stealing the safes had the tools to break one of the two open. They didn't have tools to break open a fireproof safe, so they went ahead and tossed it into a pond at a gravel pit off of Highway 371.
"They really couldn't break into the safe because it's so secure," adds Cantrell. "It looked like they beat and beat and knocked around on it, but they couldn't get in completely and open it."
The safe that could not be penetrated contained cash, coins and a necklace that is valued between $5,000 and $6,000.
The owner of the necklace says due to the sentimental value, she is very grateful to have it back.
"It was an Omega necklace," says Tracie Neal, a Lee County resident. "My mother had gave me the last big Christmas present she ever gave me, and it had a diamond sign on it that she gave me the week she died, and they recovered it."
Authorities have also arrested 22-year-old Kala Denae Fowler of Monroe County and 20-year-old Jonathan Blake Dean of Monroe County.
Moore faces four counts of breaking and entering of a commercial building and one count of grand larceny.
Fowler is charged with four counts of breaking and entering of a commercial building.
Dean is charged with one count of grand larceny and one count of breaking and entering of a commercial building.