Matthew Snelling, William Spurlock and Delana Roper were each charged Friday with several counts of breaking and entering a vehicle.
The arrests stem from a Jan. 28 police stakeout of the Anniston bar’s parking lot off Hillyer Robinson Parkway. During the stakeout, a group of Anniston investigators and Street Crimes Team members identified Snelling and Roper as suspects in the break-ins of a white Ford Explorer and green Toyota sedan and removal of items from those vehicles, police said.
Spurlock drove a red SUV that served as the suspects’ getaway car, police said.
To try to put a dent in the rising number of car break-ins and put a name to some of the people suspected of committing the crimes, Sgt. Fred Forsythe led the stakeout Friday night in AJ’s parking lot, which is often targeted by thieves, police said.
Investigators set up surveillance and a “bait car” — what Forsythe described a “normal-looking” sedan with a woman’s purse lying visible on the front seat — and hid out in various places around the parking lot to watch for suspicious activity.
Around 11:45 p.m., investigators noticed an SUV pull into the parking lot beside the bait car. The suspects got out and attempted to open the bait car’s door but discovered they had parked too close to the vehicle to pry open the door, Forsythe said. Then, investigators said, they lost sight of the suspects as they drove their SUV around to the southernmost side of the parking lot — the only area that was effectively blocked from investigators’ sight.
Seconds later, officers heard car alarms blaring and saw the SUV speed out of the parking lot.
Forsythe began to chase the SUV onto Greenbrier Dear Road, heading east toward Golden Springs Road.
But Forsythe said he eventually elected to pull out of the high-speed chase because the suspects were driving “way too fast” and haphazardly.
Still, investigators were able to identify the suspects from seeing their faces earlier in the evening and from their SUV’s tag number.
Snelling was charged with four counts of breaking and entering a vehicle and one count of receiving stolen property. Roper faces three breaking-and-entering charges, and Spurlock is saddled with two of those same charges.
The latter two suspects had bonded out of jail by Friday evening, but Calhoun County Jail records showed Snelling was in custody, with bond set at $40,500.