Mayor talks about crime wave

Published 8:57 pm Friday, April 16, 2010

Whether the suffering economy beats them down or they’re feeding a drug habit, criminals resort to desperate measures that can cripple towns like Maplesville.

Since early March, the Chilton County community of approximately 800 residents suffered through the burning of Friend’s Diner, a burgled trailer, a police department break-in resulting in stolen evidence and the assault of a Maplesville police officer.

So far, one arrest has been made. Annie Lee Wilson was arrested and charged with receiving stolen property where officers recovered a safe stolen from the police department.

The safe, containing drugs and other evidence, was found in Wilson’s backyard at 113 Old Sawmill Road in Maplesville.

Police chief Todd Ingram says investigations for all crimes are still underway.

Mayor Kurt Wallace is angry.

Along with the Maplesville Police Department officers, he believes the crimes were committed by the same few individuals — crimes he says are rare in a small community like Maplesville.

“The lack of these types of things is why many people prefer to live in small communities like ours,” Wallace said.

He emphasized how a staple like Friend’s Diner served all who entered its doors and was a pillar to the community.

“These common thugs have destroyed the livelihoods of about eight to 10 families,” he said. “And for what? There was no money in the restaurant. To break in hunting for loose change that may have been left in the restaurant was one thing, but to burn it down did not benefit these criminals at all. It shows a total lack of concern for the entire community.”

Wallace believes several members of the community know precisely which individuals are committing the crimes but choose to protect them for unknown reasons.

The council recently approved a resolution to install surveillance cameras in the downtown area to help combat future criminal acts.

Wallace also hopes to add more officers to the MPD.

“I don’t like the idea of cameras intruding on people’s privacy, but people have a right to feel safe in their homes,” he said.

MPD officer Corey McCartney stood before the town council Tuesday night and told the members the department was moving on the offensive to bring the criminals to justice. His comments were met with audible “Amens” from the roundtable of community leaders.

Wallce appreciates the MPD’s efforts to protect the town and understands they must increase their coverage.

“Our police force responds by becoming more aggressive,” he said. “We can’t stop things like this from happening, but we can add additional police officers to show more of a police presence in the community. Our aggressive behavior will end when these criminals go to jail. These criminals made this very personal when they assaulted our officer the other night.”