An ongoing investigation into a rash of downtown Elba business break-ins has led to an arrest. The suspect is also a person of interest in several other burglaries.
Barbra Tompkins operates a clothing store in downtown Elba. Her business has recently been broken into on two separate occasions.
Mrs. Tompkins says it's frustrating, but she doesn't see it as an indictment against the community. "They broke the glass of the front door and came in and took a lot of merchandise,” she says. “I wanted to give up, but, I took a breath and realized this is not the community that did this."
In surveillance footage of last week's burglary of the Subway sandwich shop, Elba Police say the suspect with a towel over his head is indeed the accused burglar, Carl Howell. The 42-year-old Elba man also faces a burglary charge of an Elba pest control business.
Chief Freddy Hanchey with the Elba Police Department says, "We have been talking with the businesses, finding out who has, and who doesn't have an internal security system and getting information."
And, even for those downtown business owners who haven't been victimized, they are overjoyed that a suspect is in custody.
Bobby Simpson of the Jewel Box says, "It helps everyone with the arrest of this man, and it makes me believe there's less chance of being victimized in the future."
Authorities believe Howell has sold some of the stolen items taken during the burglaries. If you know someone who may have bought something from Howell, you are urged to contact police.
In addition, Elba Police have arrested Phillip Musgrove on a robbery charge as well as several other charges.
Musgrove is accused of attempting to hold-up an Elba convenience store last Saturday.