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1 suspect caught, 1 sought in burglary

One man is behind bars as a suspect in a burglary of a Thomson eatery, while another man still was being sought Monday by local authorities.

Thomson Police Department Investigator Lt. Scott Whittle identified the man in custody as 19-year-old Vernon Jennings Jr., of Thomson.

A warrant was expected to be sworn out against him Tuesday, charging him with burglary.

The suspect is accused of breaking into Great Wall Chinese Restaurant, in Thomson Plaza off West Hill Street, between 3 and 3:30 a.m. on Monday, Lt. Whittle said.

The investigator said someone broke the front window to get into the eatery, and a cash register was taken.

It was later found behind the business.

The burglary reportedly was witnessed by a concerned citizen, who immediately dialed 911 to report the crime in progress, Lt. Whittle said.

Thomson Police Sgt. John James, along with Officers Alston Brassell and Patrick Sanders, responded to the scene and began a search for the fleeing suspects.

A short time later, Mr. Jennings was taken into custody behind the Dozier building near the railroad tracks, Lt. Whittle said.

The other suspect, however, fled and last was seen running in the Ansley Drive Extension area.

Officers were assisted in their search for the suspects by Deputies Alan Baldwin and Jeff Norton of the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department.

Meanwhile, police also are attempting to find the person responsible for the break-in of Michael's Restaurant, located off East Hill Street.

The crime occurred sometime late Sunday or early Monday, Lt. Whittle said.

Although nothing reportedly was stolen, several cabinets were rummaged through.

Entry was gained into the business by kicking in a rear door.

Lt. Whittle said he could not say whether the two burglaries were linked.

"We're still piecing the evidence together in both crimes," he said.

"Right now, I can't say if they are connected or not."

Anyone with information about either of these crimes should contact the Thomson Police Department at (706) 595-2166.

Web posted on Thursday, October 29, 2009

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