LBWCC players arrested for burglary

Published 12:05 am Saturday, June 16, 2012

Three LBWCC basketball players and a family member were arrested Friday for a string of eight burglaries – including five at the Lurleen B. Wallace Comm-unity Anda-lusia Campus.

Lt. Paul Dean with the Anda-lusia Police Depar-tment said the burglaries, which occurred in the last three months, were solved Friday because of the college’s high quality video surveillance system.

Dean said the video of a June 14 burglary of LBWCC’s student center, gym and library, where clothing items and monies were taken and vending machines vandalized, identified the suspects as Jordan Jaron Wimberly, 20, and Mitchell McRae Liles, 19, both of Opelika.


The two were found Friday at Southern Terrace Apartments in Andalusia, he said.

“While at the apartment, investigators noticed, in plain view, items consistent to the burglaries at LBW, including the money box from the vending machines,” Dean said. “And during interviews, the two admitted to their involvement to not only the LBW burglaries, but also two previous burglaries at LBW.”

Dean said the two also disclosed they were not alone during the incidents and identified two other suspects – Joshua Joenez Wimberly, 22, of Opelika, and Derrick Ladayne Johnson Jr., 19, of Leroy. Dean said the Wimberly men are brothers.

The four men also confessed to a second series of burglaries and an attempted burglary on June 9, Dean said.

“They admitted to breaking into Covington Mall and the Singer store inside the mall, a storage area behind Hibbett’s in Westgate Plaza and to trying to get into Sanders Jewelry,” he said.

According to the college’s website, Jordan Wimberly is listed on the 2011-2012 roster as a sophomore forward, honored as one of the team’s most valuable player; Liles, is listed as a sophomore guard; and Johnson, a freshman guard.

As for the students’ playing status following their arrests, LBWCC Athletic Director Steve Helms said, “We’ll wait for the facts to come count and then make the proper decision for the college.”

The four are each charged with eight counts of burglary III, one count of attempted burglary, two counts of theft of property II, two counts of criminal mischief I and two counts of theft of property III. Each was booked into the Covington County Jail and held on $129,000 bond.

“These cases were resolved (Friday) because of one break through – the high quality video surveillance evidence,” Dean said. “This case proves you can’t put a price on the value of a good quality surveillance system.”

Chief Wilbur Williams said the case is also proof that it “only takes one thing” to solve a case.

“This case is a true measure of how a department was able to clear a series of burglaries with one video,” he said. “Burglaries are a difficult crime to solve because they are done in the dead of night with no witnesses. Video surveillance is a valuable asset to not only the police department, but also to prosecuting attorneys and juries in getting a conviction.”

Mayor Earl Johnson commended the department for a “job well done” and said patrols will be increased in retail areas.

“The protection of property is one of the highest priorities of this administration,” Johnson said. “As a result of the recent burglaries, we are stepping up the surveillance of our commercial and retail areas at night. Burglars should know, we will get them.”