By Josh Mitchell
Corinth Today News Editor
Corinth Police have arrested two suspects after an ongoing investigation of handgun thefts from local businesses, an official said Wednesday afternoon.
James Nickolas Stephenson, 18, of Corinth, has been charged with two counts of firearm trafficking, and Jermaine Dorea Wooden, 18, Corinth, has been charged with one count of burglary of a commercial building, police said.
Corinth Police have been investigating a series of business break-ins where numerous handguns were stolen, said Detective Sgt. Michael Suitor.
The first break-in occurred on July 25 at Berry’s Trading Post on East Shiloh Road in which the front-door glass was broken out, and numerous handguns were stolen, said Suitor.
Several days later on July 29 Berry’s Trading Post was broken into again with the same method of entry, and numerous handguns were taken once again, Suitor added.
The next break-in occurred at J&H Guns on U.S. Highway 72 East on Aug. 30. The front-door glass appeared to have been broken out with an aluminum baseball bat as well as the glass gun case, Suitor noted. Numerous handguns were taken in that burglary as well, he said.
Between all three burglaries roughly 20 handguns or more were stolen in total, Suitor said.
Wooden’s commercial burglary charge is based on the break-in at J&H Guns. Stephenson’s two firearm trafficking charges are based on one of the incidents at Berry’s and the J&H Guns incident, Suitor added.
Shortly after the J&H break-in, Suitor received information identifying two suspects. He applied for a no-knock search warrant and was granted it by a circuit court judge.
The warrant was executed Aug. 31 by the police department’s investigative division, narcotics division and patrol officers at Stephenson’s East Third Street apartment where Wooden was also staying.
Both suspects were home when the search warrant was executed and taken into custody, Suitor said. Some of the stolen handguns from the J&H Guns break-in were recovered at the residence, he added.
The investigation is ongoing, and all three burglaries appear to be related, Suitor noted.
If people have purchased a gun that may be stolen they are urged to contact Corinth Police and turn it in. Those found with a stolen gun face possible charges.
Anyone with information can contact Corinth Police at (662) 286-3377.