LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - A police pursuit through a Long Beach neighborhood early Monday morning ended after the suspect’s car crashed into a resident’s vehicle outside his home. The incident comes after a string of burglaries throughout the area.
Residents have been on high alert recently after multiple auto burglaries have been reported. It was a tip about suspicious activity from one of the residents that led officers to the area to investigate.
After seeing the suspect’s vehicle commit a traffic violation, a Long Beach police officer attempted to stop the car. Instead of stopping, the car fled from the officer, leading authorities on a brief police chase.
After hitting several mailboxes at homes along Trautman Avenue, the chase ended when the driver crashed into a resident’s minivan.
“At a high rate of speed, the suspect lost control of his vehicle, went through these bushes, taking out the mailbox and hitting the person’s vehicle," said Long Beach Police Lt. Patrick Craig, pointing to trampled shrubs in front of one resident’s home.
Two suspects were arrested but police believe four others others fled. Dijon Jones of Hattiesburg and Tyler McLaurin of Seminary were taken into custody at the scene. The two 18-year-olds are each charged with three counts of burglary.
It’s unclear if one of them was driving the vehicle or if one of the suspects who got away was driving it.
Jones and McLaurin were booked into Harrison County Jail with bond set at $25,000 per charge for a total of $75,000 each.
“I woke up with a bunch of sirens and it sounded like gun shots,” said Mary Peterson, who lives in the neighborhood.
It wasn’t gun shots that Peterson heard. It was the sound of the suspect’s vehicle colliding with her neighbor David Smith’s vehicle in front of his house.
“Somebody was in this car and they got out and just run,” said Peterson.
Police did tell Smith that they had a few leads on the car.
“They were able to identify the car right away," said Smith. "They had the tags on it and figured out who the owner was very quickly and they said the perpetrators were from Hattiesburg.”
In the hours that followed, police recovered stolen firearms, as well as other stolen items that the suspects tried to ditch once the pursuit began.
Still with several suspects roaming free, Peterson said she doesn’t feel safe.
“As soon as dark comes, they’re going to be roaming again," she said. “No, I don’t feel comfortable at all sitting here."
Police said for many of the vehicles that were broken into, it was as easy as the suspects just having to open the doors because the vehicles were left unlocked.
“Locking the cars is the biggest thing,” said Lt. Craig. “Most of the time, they flip a door handle and if it is locked, they move on because it is too much hassle to get into the vehicle.”
However, that hasn’t eased the concern of those who live in the area. Smith said he has lived in Long Beach for decades and is stunned by the amount of crime he is seeing.
“After 40 years, we have never had any instance like this and we were at the tail end of this one," he said. "It is just shocking to see increased crime up and down the Coast.”
Police have not yet released the names of the two suspects that were taken into custody or a description of any of the other suspects believed to be involved. We will update this story once that information is made available.