SPD makes Brickfire arrest

Austin Montgomery
City Reporter

Starkville police arrested a suspect in connection with the string of burglaries at the Brickfire Project early Thursday morning.

After responding to a suspicious persons call near the nonprofit organization on Westside Drive, SPD detained Christian Cordarius Bobo, 23, of Starkville and after questioning Bobo, arrested him, SPD officials said.

Bobo was charged with three counts of criminal burglary and possession of a firearm by a felon.

A series of burglaries over several weeks was captured on video footage from Feb. 16 that showed a suspect stealing items from Brickfire.

"It's a step in the right direction," said Brickfire Executive Director Cheikh Taylor. "We are concerned that this may not be a person who is by themselves as far as being the only suspect. We are very happy though."

SPD officials released a sample of the video on March 1 in an attempt to seek the public's help in identifying the suspect.

"It has the hair standing up on the back of our necks," Taylor said. "We are very accustomed to working late and the burglaries kind of put something in the back of your mind."

Not pictured in the video is the organization's safe which was moved and opened during the burglaries, Taylor said.

"They were trying to get a safe out of the building and the safe weighs at least a couple hundred pounds," Taylor said. "We thought they'd taken it but we found it open in another room. They spent a very long time here and these individuals were armed."

The organization provides childcare services, after school programs, jobs and skill training to the Starkville community. Brickfire had dealt with eight previous break-ins in the last two and a half to three months, according to Taylor.

The group has been active in the community for over 40 years and serves approximately 42 children on a daily basis.

None of the incidents were previously reported to SPD.

Items taken from Brickfire included iPad and Samsung tablets children use for homework, petty cash and tools, and miscellaneous items.

"They stole the tablets and now we are afraid to get new ones," Taylor said. "It's put a damper on that. The kids would use them for research and homework, stuff like that. We don't have the funds to replace them right now."

During the burglaries, suspects would often destroy some of the smaller but necessary supplies for providing a quality child care environment.

Any donations would be appreciated, Taylor said.

"A security system would definitely help," he said.

Bobo's bond was set at $100,000 and he was transported to the Oktibbeha County Jail. He will appear in Municipal Court on April 11 at 6 p.m.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information about the incidents should call SPD at 662-323-4131 or the Golden Triangle Crime Stoppers at 1-800-530-7151.