From Capt. Chuck McMullen Special to the Advance
Published 2:51 pm Wednesday, December 31, 2003
Investigators with the Escambia County Sheriff's Office have arrested two Atmore men in connection with a residential burglary where more than 30 firearms were stolen. Michael Moore, 19, of Atmore and John Lee Davis III, 18, of Atmore were each arrested on charges of burglary first degree and theft of property first degree.
According to reports from the sheriff's department, on the evening of Dec. 17, the owner of the house was called by one of the suspects and was told that a family member needed help at a bar just across the state line in Florida. The owner left the residence and upon his return to the home, the owner discovered the house had been burglarized. The suspects forcibly entered the house and took more than 30 firearms, a safe that contained cash and jewelry, and several other items.
On Dec. 19, John Lee Davis III, was located at a house on First Avenue in Atmore in possession of one of the pistols believed stolen in the burglary and other items. Thirty-two of the stolen firearms were recovered on Dec. 22 from a wooded area behind the Oak Hill Cemetery in Atmore.
On Dec. 23, investigators obtained a search warrant for the residence of Michael Moore on South Presley Street in Atmore. Sheriff's investigators, who were assisted by members of the 21st Judicial Drug Task Force, executed the search warrant and arrested Michael Moore. Investigators also recovered the safe that had been stolen in a wooded area off of Atmosphere Road, north of Atmore. The safe had been forcibly opened and all of its contents removed. The jewelry that had been taken out of the safe was located in the woods near the safe.
Each of the suspects is being held in the Escambia County Detention Center on $50,000 bond. Investigator Jeff Beasley, who works under the Alabama I.C.E. Program, will be coordinating with U.S. Attorney David York and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in Mobile for possible federal prosecution of Davis and Moore.
Because the owner of the firearms had documented the serial numbers of each of the guns, it was possible to immediately identify the guns that had been stolen. Without the serial numbers, investigators would have to conduct traces on each of the guns, significantly delaying the return of the firearms to the owner.
"We would like to encourage all of the residents of Escambia County to take time and document the serial numbers of all of their firearms," said Beasley. The documentation of this information assists law enforcement in several ways including the ability to enter the weapons information into the National Crime Information Center for gun recovery worldwide. It also assists in the immediate identification and earlier return of stolen firearms to the rightful owners.