D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - For a second time in two months, Cook's Gun Store in D'Iberville was burglarized. Twenty-five guns were taken, but the intuition of one police officer and help from a sharp citizen led to two arrests just hours after the break in.
Around 1:30 Thursday morning, a D'Iberville police officer saw a car in a church parking and thought something seemed strange. The officer turned around and the driver took off, leading to a high speed chase.
"I was awakened by what I would have sworn was an explosion, a very loud bang," Biloxi resident Scott Pietrowski said.
Turns out it was not an explosion Pietrowski heard, but a car speeding through his yard and smashing into the tree. His security camera captured it all. The video shows the car flying into the air, then it does a complete turn and rams the tree.
A man took off running just seconds before a D'iberville officer pulled in with his lights on; another man never left the car.
"The officer that was first on the scene was giving orders to the individual still in the car," Pietrowski said. "They were obviously afraid there were weapons involved."
D'Iberville Police Chief Wayne Payne said 24 guns and a rifle were found in the car.
"Evidence in the vehicle indicated that a burglary probably happened, so we started conducting searches in the area," Payne said.
Police soon discovered the front door of Cook's Gun Shop bashed in for the second time in two months.
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Resident Agent in Charge Joel Lee said, "It's safe to say they are linked, but we are not ready to say at this time they are related because we have a big investigation to do."
"I'm not happy about it," Cook's Gun Shop Store Manager Mike Creel said. "But there is a lot of revenue lost, even with insurance there's a lot of revenue lost. And then, two, it's a violation of me and the people that work here; this is our livelihood."
Creel said the same three display cases that were busted in January were hit again. Both incidents cost the shop $2,500 for insurance deductibles.
"Also, too, the lost revenue of not having merchandise that we have already paid for. It is just sitting doing nothing in the evidence locker. That's money that is melting away," Creel said.
It was a WLOX viewer who spotted the suspect on Vee Street in Biloxi and called police. Officers rushed to the scene and were able to arrest him about six hours after the search began.
WLOX Viewer Jeff Lacoste said, "I saw his eyes through the hoodie after them showing it so many times on TV. It was just obvious it was him, so I called police."
"We got those weapons off the street, which is always scary for everyone," Chief Payne said. "We commend the news media again."
The two men arrested were both taken to the hospital. Police said Kevin Parfait, the driver who led the officer on the chase, had a cut on his head. As for the passenger, John Ross Harold, police said he had several injuries and has been transferred to a hospital in Jackson.