CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Police knocked on a burglar's door but were unable to enter and arrest the man until they got a warrant two days later with the help of a witness, Charleston police said Tuesday.
"It's very important that we get tips from the community," said Sgt. Tony Hazelett. "With larcenies, they know their neighborhood better than we do. If they feel there's something suspicious going on, we encourage them to call the police. Sometimes a minor tip leads to a major arrest."
In the case of Nicholas Jackson, 46, whom police arrested Thursday, a theft report from sculptor Joe Mullins and an account from a witness ended a recent string of burglaries in the East End.
Mullins said he had just bought a small generator, which he needed for a job restoring a tombstone at Spring Hill Cemetery.
"I'd used it for about five hours, put it in the back of my truck. I didn't have it chained," Mullins said. "This guy comes around at 4 in the morning. I think he's a real pro. I wake up, it's gone. I had a couple of lines over it. He cut them."
A longtime East End resident who knows many of his neighbors, Mullins said he spotted an acquaintance coming down the street that morning. "It was around 6:30. I jokingly ask him, 'Where's my generator?' He says, 'It's on Shelton Street, apartment A.'
"The policeman comes by. He goes over there, knocks on the door, goes away."
Mullins ran into East End City Councilman Robert Sheets the next day. Sheets called police to see what more they could do. Investigators met with the witness Mullins talked to.
"The citizen was able to give us a description and a nickname of the suspect who was trying to sell the generator," Hazelett said.