SOUTHAVEN, MS (abc24.com) - Southaven police captured a man this week as he was breaking into a car at a repair shop. They believe the suspect has been at it for months. Cops have been investigating a rash of burglaries since February.
"We're here to take care of customers, not have them ripped off while their cars are here," says Rusty Houston, a technician at AutoBody America.
But that's been the case the past three months in Southaven.
"Back in February we had about 12 or 14 cars hit and then last week four to six," says Lt. Mark Little with Southaven Police Department.
"I'd say we've been hit maybe three times," says Houston.
The body shop where he works is one of several places catalytic converters have been stolen.
"These were their customers, so they had to pay for them," Little tells abc24.com. "It costs hundreds to replace each one."
42-year-old Randy Madlock was arrested early Monday morning. Police caught Madlock trying to break into the Coleman-Taylor Transmission Store.
"He went back to a location he'd hit previously in February," Little says.
Little believes Madlock was working alone, and that he's stolen more than 20 converters.
"All scrap yards and metal yards report just like pawn shop does," he says. So cops are tracking Madlock's sales now.
He's been charged with burglary, but more charges are likely on the way.
"We don't know yet how many we're going to charge him with. We have to start matching them," Little says.
"I think he needs to pay for what he's done," says Houston. "That's pretty low life but I guess there's people like that."
Madlock is from West Memphis, Arkansas. He doesn't have a record in Mississippi.
Southaven police are checking with Tennessee and Arkansas on his criminal history to see if he's stolen from repair shops there.