WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. – If you’re friends with Carson Gates, 23, of Walnut Ridge, tell him to turn himself in.
The young man, who was on parole through April of 2019 for earlier drug charges, is the prime suspect in a rash of recent vehicle break-ins in Walnut Ridge last week, according to Walnut Ridge Police Department Chief Chris Kirksey.
Last week, several vehicle break-ins were reported on Monday and Thursday nights, all happening in the same geographical location near the hospital. The efficient police work at WRPD quickly led them to the suspect a short time later.
On Friday night, Oct. 28, Kirksey said his department tried making contact with Gates at 1804 Ashley Street, where he was staying. Kirksey said a team went to the residence and found a shop building.
“When they approached the shop building where he was at, back behind and to the side of the house, he slammed the overhead door on police and locked the door,” Kirksey said. “They were trying to get him to come out of the shop. He jumped through a window out of the back of the shop and took off on foot from the police.”
A team composed of WRPD, Hoxie PD, Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office and Arkansas State Police all were involved in the evening’s events but the suspect managed to escape – at least for the time being.
Kirksey said he later talked to him on the phone and tried to talk him into turning himself in.
“He ignored my orders, of course,” Kirksey said. “He’s still at large.”
Police later searched the shop and found evidence linking Gates to several of the break-ins. Over the weekend, police found numerous stolen items thrown out off of Lawrence County Road 451, also known as Paradise Road. Numerous identification cards, credit cards, and the like were discovered, all linking to Gates for the rest of the break-ins, Kirksey said.
“The investigation is still ongoing and I anticipate that Gates was not working alone,” Kirksey said. “There was probably somebody else involved and I anticipate charges being pressed for that, along with tampering with physical evidence and hindering apprehension for Gates.”
While Gates has seemingly decided long-ago against doing the right thing, the hope now is that someone near him will decide to do what is right, for him. The suspected career-criminal is facing a litany of charges, including:
- Seven felony counts of breaking or entering
- Felony theft of property
- Felony possession of a firearm by certain person
- Felony possession of drug paraphernalia
- Felony tampering with evidence
- Six misdemeanor counts of theft of property
- A misdemeanor charge of fleeing.
While the suspect is still being sought, the quick identification of the man has most certainly foiled future criminal plans. Kirksey praised the effectiveness of his staff, citing the results as “a team effort.”