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Suspect nabbed in string of burglaries

By By James Crawford
News Editor
William Andrew Russell Jr. of Bay Minette has been arrested in connection with a rash of burglaries that occurred on Tuesday night at businesses located adjacent to or near Trammell Street.
According to reports from the Atmore Police Department, the 23-year-old suspect confessed to all five burglaries and told officers he was on probation for a previous burglary and theft sentence for which he had served two years of a 20-year sentence.
According to his confession, Russell arrived in Atmore at midnight with the intent of committing burglary to search for cash.
"According to his confession, he had no particular reason for coming to Atmore," said Investigating Officer Lieutenant Charles Ellaird. "It just happened to be the place that he chose. He was mostly looking for cash according to what he told us."
The suspect told officers that he parked his car at Atmore Tire and Retreading at the corner of Ridgeley and Trammell Street and proceeded to walk south to Central Farm and Supply where he committed his first crime by breaking and entering the business.
After causing a major amount of damage, Russell continued to head south on Trammell Street across the railroad tracks to the Tot Shop, where he committed his second crime of burglary and stole a small amount of cash.
According to his statement, the suspect then turned north back up Trammell Street and stopped at Country Charms where he committed his third crime of burglary. He then went next door to the C&N Shop, the former Forte Furniture building, and committed his fourth crime of burglary. The suspect then crossed Ridgeley Street to Atmore Tire and Retreading and committed his fifth crime of burglary before returning to his car.
"All the businesses suffered some form of damage and we're still investigating to what extent with some of them," said Ellaird.
Atmore Officer Ray Rolin approached Russell as he sat in his car outside of Atmore Tire and Retreading and asked to see his license. Russell fled west on foot and managed to elude officers for a brief time after a short foot chase. Officers received a tip that the suspect was seen on the railroad trusses near Ridgeley Street and proceeded to capture him.
Shift Officer Corp. Barry Hurst, along with patrol officers Scott Walden and Chad Emmons assisted in the apprehension of the suspect who was armed with a loaded stolen Ruger nine millimeter when he was arrested.
"The officers got a good tip and it was a short time later that they apprehended him," said Ellaird.
At the time of his arrest, the suspect was wanted on a parole violation and will be subsequently charged with five counts of burglary, one count of theft, and several counts of criminal mischief here in Atmore.
The Ruger handgun found on his person at the time of arrest was reported stolen in Summerdale and an additional loaded firearm found in the suspect's vehicle was reported stolen from a lawyer's office in Auburn.