Suspected shotgun thief quickly captured and confessed

A Jonesboro Police Department patrol car. Photo by Stan Morris.

After stealing shotgun in Jonesboro, suspect was apprehended by Brookland PD

JONESBORO, Ark. – A vehicle break-in was solved before the ink was dry on the initial report after police in Brookland found a vehicle carrying in it a stolen shotgun.

Just after midnight on Tuesday, Dec. 19, JPD officers were dispatched to the 3400-block of Aggie Road where a vehicle-break in had just occurred. Officer Matthew McDaniel reported the victim said he and some other friends were outside smoking they heard a vehicle pull up. When he moved around the house to see it, the victim observed an individual running back to the maroon Ford Escape. He advised that the suspect vehicle backed out and “peeled off” out of the parking lot.

The victim got to his truck and found the target of the fleeing suspect: his Benelli semi-automatic shotgun.

A short time later and on County Road 741 in Brookland, a suspect vehicle was pulled over, driven by Joshua Ray Slatton, 20, of Paragould. Brookland police found a Benelli shotgun in his vehicle, as well.

Slatton. Source: CCDC

The victim and witnesses were still with Jonesboro police while this was all happening. Brookland PD radioed the stop to officers in Jonesboro. The victim and a witness were transported by JPD to the stop location. Slatton, along with his girlfriend Hailey White, 18, of Paragould, and another friend, Demontia Payne Batiste, 19, of Paragould, were at the stop. They were lined up, single file, by JPD Officer Zachary McQuay. With the three standing up, McQuay directed Officer McDaniel to drive by with the victim and witness. Both confirmed it was them.

McQuay read aloud the three’s Miranda warnings, the report says. All three waived their right to remain silent. Following questioning, McQuay reported Slatton admitted he stole the firearm. McQuay said the two girls admitted they were with Slatton “as he stole the firearm, however, they did not participate.” They were released but Slatton was arrested.

Slatton faces felony charges of breaking or entering and theft of a firearm. He also faces a misdemeanor for allegedly stealing the keys of the victim. He denied stealing the keys in the report.

After being interviewed by a detective, the suspect said it was his first time doing this.

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