Valdosta Daily Times

February 28, 2014

VPD burglary unit issues warrants

Dean Poling
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — The Valdosta Police Department’s recently created burglary unit released Thursday the names of three suspects wanted in connection to recent and past crimes.

The VPD requests anyone having information about any of these cases or knows the locations of the named suspects to contact authorities.

— On Jan. 28, a residential burglary occurred on the 600 block of Way Street. Authorities have obtained an arrest warrant on a burglary charge for Houston Eugene Whitfield, 21, of Valdosta, a black male, according to the VPD.

— On Sept. 27, 2013, a burglary in progress at a 1400 block Ricardo Street residence was reported to police. A person fled the scene as officers investigated the call. Police have obtained arrest warrants for charges of burglary and obstruction of an officer for Sammie Phillips, 21, a black male, according to the VPD.

— In February 2013, a truck and trailer were reported stolen from the parking lot of Tractor Supply on North St. Augustine Road. A suspect was identified in the case. An arrest warrant for the charge of theft by taking motor vehicle has been filed for Emilio Perez, 38, a Hispanic male, according to the VPD. His last known address was in Immokalee, Fla.

The VPD initiated a special burglary unit earlier this month. Burglaries rose throughout 2013, in sharp contrast with other major crimes in the city. Citing Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics earlier this month, Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress said numbers dropped for all major crimes last year in Valdosta, with the exception of burglaries. The number of burglaries increased in the past year.

To combat this rise, Childress approached Valdosta City Manager Larry Hanson about creating a sergeant-led burglary unit within the VPD’s detective bureau. Valdosta Police Detective Chris Crews was promoted to sergeant and leads the new burglary unit.

The new unit is assigned specifically to solving and reducing burglary cases within the city. Money saved from the VPD’s recent move to 12-hour shifts covers the sergeant position while remaining within the police department’s budget.