Police say that the rent house at 309 S Oak street in Stifft Station had been suspected of being a base for burglars targeting Hillcrest/Stifft Station, but they didn’t have evidence for warrant.
However, after a passerby witnessed (and photographed) three males hauling property down Oak street Sunday Nov. 9th at 1:30 PM into the suspected house (from a home that had just been burglarized) they set out to get a warrant, which took a few hours.
Prior to getting the warrant, police knocked on the door and arrested one suspect at that time, I’m told. Police then surrounded the house and cordoned off several blocks to keep the remaining suspects from escaping while they waited on their warrant. They spoke to the suspects with a loud speaker and told them they were surrounded, two suspects surrendered then and two remained inside (or something close to that, anyway). Six or so hours later police had their warrant and SWAT officers dragged the remaining suspect(s) out.
Police are saying that these suspects are likely responsible for at least 30 burglaries in the area.
Below are snippets of info sent to me by the person who tipped the police and took the photos of the suspects:
Police showed up in great time. One said that he was excited to be part of this, especially now that they had actual proof and could get a search warrant. The SWAT team came and evacuated the houses on the street and set up.
I think there were 5 suspects. The last guy had been hiding in the attic and fell through the dry wall, then made a run for it (dark pants, white shirt).
The lessee of the house is apparently a grandmother–who has actually been in a nursing home for an unknown amount of time. Basically leaving them to terrorize the block. [According to public records, the home is owned by former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders and her husband. I haven’t been able to determine how long the lessee has been incapacitated of for how long this situation has been in place or if the property owners knew about it.]
The general M.O. was to shut off breakers, knock on doors at different time… basically case out homes to get specific schedules of residents, then kick in the back door. They don’t drive, hence the walking distance of the houses hit (I made a list of incidents reported on S Oak and S Pine in the last year–S Pine has been hit 10 times since 2/27).
I spoke with a woman on Pine who had been hit on Oct 11 and then again last Wednesday.
Massive LRPD vehicle–moving van size–hauled out stuff. Around 15 – 20 flat screens alone.The house was basically “dingy… and full of other people’s belongings.”Some of the suspect nicknames: Sonny Boy, Derrick (sp), Fat.There’s a chance some people can get their belongings back. Police were great about doing what they could. My friend got to go in and when a Sgt showed up, he said “I got to see my stuff!” and she was like “Awesome, right?”
UPDATE: Regarding as to whether the landlord knew about the criminal activity, the following narrative should shine some light on that:
“I stay across the street from the residence in your Oak St. story. June 2014 a neighbor notified me that some boys at that house attempted to break into my residence while I was away from my house working. Once my neighbor supplied me with this information, I contacted the LRPD, as well as, Oliver Elders, to inform him of the nuisance his tenants were causing on our street. Mr. Elders informed me that Suzy Clemmons was his tenant and she was on Little Rock Housing, Section 8 Program. Numerous times I called LRPD and reported things such as; gunshots, trespassing and many other nuisance like behaviors at this residence. I even went as far as attempting to alert the LR Housing Authority. So to answer your question, Mr. Elders knew as early as June 2014. Even today after the bust, I still notice shady characters at the address. Just wanted to give my insight and I would like to remain anonymous.”
The witness compiled a listing recent burglaries that were close. These are not confirmed to be the work of this crew:
One of the suspects arrested:
“I was able to visit the Property Room at LRPD’s 800 West Markham branch yesterday and recover my two stolen laptops. A firearm remains missing. Another neighbor was there too getting his stuff back. I don’t have the contact number, but you can look it up, call and make an appointment. Reference the raid at 309 South Oak Street, and tell them you’re a victim looking for your things. Good luck. — The person that is handling this (as of yesterday) is Detective Garrison. He is a great place to start, if you feel like your stuff was in that house.”