WRPD nabs car burglar; former PD chief arrested

WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. – The man wanted for a litany of car break-ins recently in Walnut Ridge is behind bars – and so is his father – a former Walnut Ridge Police Chief – who helped him evade authorities, police said.

Carson Gates, 23, of Walnut Ridge, is the prime suspect in a rash of vehicle break-ins were reported in October, all happening in the same geographical location near the hospital. Walnut Ridge Police Department quickly identified Gates and searched for him at 1804 Ashley Street – but he escaped.

Police Chief Chris Kirksey suspected he was getting help and indeed, several family members were arrested when Gates was apprehended around noon Monday.

Under the presumption of Gates being at two residences, authorities in Lawrence County executed two simultaneous raids – one in Hoxie, one in Walnut Ridge, again, on Ashley.

“We anticipated him being at one of two houses so we simultaneously hit both of them – two raids at the same time,” Kirksey said. “We found he was not at the house at Hoxie but he was at the house he had been at before, 1804 Ashley Street.”

Gates was hiding in a return air duct at a relative’s home. As previously mentioned, he was completely unwilling to surrender. Authorities pried him out of the hole and arrested him. He faces a list 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.

In addition, Gates father, former WRPD Chief Leslie “Gator” Gates, 49, of Walnut Ridge, was arrested for allegedly hindering the apprehension of his fugitive son.

Two others, Madison Brooks, 18, and Harley Kincade, 20, both of Walnut Ridge, were arrested for hindering apprehension. Brooks is believed to be Gates’ girlfriend, while Kincade is a friend, police said.

All of the hindering charges will be felonies.

The younger Gates, Kincade and Brooks were taken to Lawrence County Jail. The elder Gates was taken to Jackson County jail, likely to avoid a conflict of interest with the department he had previously worked with.

Arkansas State Police, Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, Hoxie Police Department, and SRT assisted in the day’s events.

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