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Four arrested in home invasion case

December 8, 2010

By BRIAN HAWKINS
sdneditor@bellsouth.net

Three Columbus men and one Macon man remain jailed on individual charges of armed robbery in a north Starkville home invasion case that saw a 71-year-old woman held up at gunpoint almost a week ago.
All four suspects remain jailed on bonds of $250,000 apiece in the home invasion incident, which was reported at 11:45 p.m. Dec. 1 at a home at 1403 Reed Road in north Starkville. Charged with armed robbery in the incident are:
• Marcel Jones, 22, of 677 Yorkville Road, Apt. A-1, Columbus.
• Donnie Harris, 20, of 405 10th St., Apt. C, Columbus.
• Christopher James Whooper, 26, of 5051 Military Road, Columbus.
• Willie Graham Jr., 30, of 803 Hall Road, Macon.
Jones and Harris were arrested this past Friday, Whooper was arrested Monday night and Graham was arrested in Columbus Tuesday morning.
In the Dec. 1 incident, the 71-year-old woman was awakened by a knock at the door by three black males — later identified as Jones, Harris and Whooper — who asked to use her telephone because they told her they needed help, said SPD Sgt. Chadd Garnett on Tuesday.
The woman let the three men into her home and handed one of them her cellular phone to make the call. As one of them pretended to call someone, one of the others pulled out what was described as a black, large-frame automatic handgun, pointed at the woman and told her to “sit down and shut up,” Garnett said.
The suspect held her at gunpoint while the third man went into a bedroom and took $520 and some change before fleeing on foot to a car police believe was parked nearby, Garnett said.
Other members of the woman’s family remained asleep in the home during the robbery, Garnett said.
Garnett on Tuesday would not disclose the circumstances of the investigation that led police to the four suspects, nor would he disclose the name of the victim, citing continued concerns for her safety.
“It has taken us a few days to identify and locate the suspects,” Garnett said.
Garnett urged residents not to open the door if they don’t know those knocking.
“If anyone knocks on the door and claims to be needing help, call 911 and tell them the police are on the way, but do not open the door,” Garnett said.
Garnett and SPD detectives also expressed appreciation to Oktibbeha County and Lowndes County sheriff’s deputies, Columbus police and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation for their assistance in the investigation.

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