MARSHALL COUNTY, MS (abc24.com) - The fourth time's the charm when it comes to Mississippi fugitive Jerome Totten.
After escaping custody three times, twice in Mississippi and once Monday in Florida, Totten is finally in jail. He's wanted for a dozen church burglaries in Mississippi and has been on the run for six months.
Miami Beach police arrested Totten October 15, then hours later accidentally released him on bond. Totten is now once again in Miami's jail. As for how he was taken back into custody Mississippi deputies are calling that dumb luck, or maybe just plain dumb.
"It's a stroke of luck. Hey, sometimes the good guys wins," says Major Kelly McMillen.
After six long months of losing out on capturing Jerome Totten, Marshall County sheriff's deputies can finally say they've got their man. That wasn't certain yesterday.
Miami Beach police arrested the Mississippi fugitive, then let him go. "While I'm on phone with them trying to get a hold placed on him so he doesn't get out, they turn him loose," McMillen says.
Totten already escaped custody in Marshall County twice last April, leading deputies on an intense car chase and days-long manhunt.
"Myself, other investigators, DeSoto sheriff's department, Memphis police.... ya'll know the hours and people we had looking," McMillen tells abc24.com.
Deputies had a tip Totten was in Florida, but nothing confirmed until Miami police arrested him this Monday for petty larceny.
"They brought him in and ran his fingerprints," McMillen says. "He gave bogus name, but they identified him. According to the lieutenant there, they just dropped the ball. It was human error he got out."
The evasive fugitive may have outsmarted Florida cops once, but he wasn't smart enough to do it twice.
Totten left a laptop at the jail. Surprisingly, he returned to get it, that's when police again locked him up.
"We're lucky we were able to make contact. We're glad he's in custody. Now we can get him back and finish our case. We'll give it to the district attorney's office for prosecution."
The plan is to extradite Totten as soon as possible. He's facing several charges including felony fleeing. He's also the prime suspect for church burglaries in both Marshall and Tate counties.