May 17-TUPELO - The Lee County Sheriff's Office is investigating a rash of car burglaries early Tuesday morning at two companies located in an industrial park between Verona and Shannon.
There were at least 10 car burglaries reported after midnight on Tuesday, May 17, in the employee parking lots of MTD Products and Martinrea Automotive Structures. The companies are located less than a mile apart in the Tupelo-Lee Industrial Park South.
The first report came at 1:11 a.m. when a MTD employee went to his car during a break and found the passenger window broken and a large amount of cash missing. Within minutes, three more employee reported break-ins. Just 15 minutes later, the first report came in from Martinrea. As was the case at MTD, within minutes, several other employees also noticed damage to the their cars from the burglaries.
At MTD, the first victim said the passenger window of his 2018 Dodge Challenger was shattered. The center console and the glove box were open. When he checked, he discovered $4,000 cash was missing. Another victim had their passenger window shattered. The thief entered the man's 2014 Nissan Maxima and stole $500 cash from his wallet, which he left in the center console.
The third victim said someone broke out the driver's window of his 2014 Dodge Challenger. Papers were strewn about the cabin, but nothing appeared to be stolen. The fourth victim at MTD reported two holes punched in the driver's window of a 2020 Dodge Charger. The window did not shatter and the burglar did not appear to get inside the car.
At least two of the MTD victims saw what is believed to have been the suspect vehicle. One witness described seeing a white, four-door sedan, first near his vehicle, then moving by his cousin's car. He could not see the suspects but said the car had a vanity plate and a diamond tag bracket. A second witness said the car was possibly a Ford Fusion with a personalized license.
Around the corner at Martinrea, the first two calls involved a Nissan Maxima and a Dodge 3500 pickup. Both had passenger side windows broken out but nothing appeared to have been stolen. The owner of a 2008 GMC Sierra reported someone broke out the driver's window to get inside the pickup. Once inside, they stole two pairs of sunglasses and a set of PING golf clubs in a PING golf bag.
Two other vehicles, a Ford F-250 pickup and a Dodge Charger, reported large holes punched in the passenger side windows, but entry was not gained inside the vehicles.
About two hours later, a Martinrea employee who had heard others talking about the break-ins went to check his car. He noticed he had accidentally left the passenger door unlocked. Someone had entered the 2004 Honda Civic and stole a Cobra .380 pistol from the center console.
Anyone with information on these crimes is urged to call the Lee County Sheriff's Office at 841-9041, Crime Stoppers of Northeast Mississippi at (800) 773-TIPS or download the P3 Tip App and leave an anonymous tip that way.