Gulf Shores police arrest man suspected of breaking into at least 14 vehicles

Baldwin County

GULF SHORES, Ala. (WKRG) — Gulf Shores police have arrested a man they say broke into multiple vehicles and stole various items in a month’s long crime spree.

On June 23, in the early morning hours, officers were called to investigate the report of multiple vehicle break-ins. The break-ins were reported in several neighborhoods along Cotton Creek Drive. Detectives were able to identify the suspect vehicle, a stolen Jeep Grand Cherokee, through residential surveillance video. The Jeep was abandoned in an apartment complex in Pensacola shortly after the break-ins.

Evidence recovered from the stolen Jeep Grand Cherokee linked the suspects to the crimes in Gulf Shores. With the assistance of the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, evidence recovered at a home on Gainswood Court in Pensacola led police to three persons of interest.

Then on Sept. 15, the Gulf Shores Police Department received reports of multiple vehicle break-ins in complexes along Regency Road and East 1st Street. One witness provided a description of the suspect vehicle, which he described as black Nissan four-door sedan with three black men inside.

Noting the similarities between the two events, Gulf Shores police asked ECSO to check the apartment complex where the Jeep Grand Cherokee was recovered in June. ECSO responded and recovered the stolen black Nissan Altima. During the processing of this crime scene, evidence was discovered that led to the recovery of items pertaining to the break-ins in Gulf Shores. Additional surveillance video was located, showing the three black men in the stolen Nissan Altima in Gulf Shores as well as in Pensacola.

Police identified one of the suspects as 21-year-old Erick D’Andre Smith Jr. of Pensacola.

On Oct. 12, the Gulf Shores Magistrate issued the following warrants on Erick Smith Jr.:
• 14 counts of Unlawful Breaking and Entering To Motor Vehicle
• 5 counts of Theft of Property 2nd
• 1 count of Theft of Property 3rd
• 11 counts of Theft of Property 4th

Erick Smith Jr. is currently in custody on charges filed in Florida. Police are continuing to investigate to find the other two men involved in the break-ins. If you have any information, call Det. Mike Hoguet at 251-968-9841.

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