|Updated: 7/05/2012 10:30 pm
||Published: 7/05/2012 10:26 pm
MALVERN, AR – A man found drunk on a stranger’s front porch the morning of July 4th has been connected to a dozen breaking and entering calls and a stolen van by the Malvern Police Department.
Johnette Johnson started her holiday morning, and the investigation, out on her back patio.
“I sat down in my rocker to have my coffee, and then I heard something behind me, and I turned around and looked. There’s someone asleep in that chair,” said Johnson.
Police say the man in the chair was an inebriated Kortez Smith.
“I looked at him a good bit before I woke him up and then I got right in his face and asked him what he was doing sleeping on my patio,” said Johnson.
Eventually Smith left Johnson’s patio, and she called police. Officers caught up to Smith and held him for several hours, which they say is standard procedure, so he could sober up.
That is when the calls started coming in, almost all of them break-ins near the neighborhood where Johnson lives. Malvern police say Smith confessed to 12 breaking and enterings, mostly of cars and sheds.
“He is a very honest man, I will say that. I’ve got enough from him that it was very obvious what had occurred,” said Cpl. Randy Neal with the Malvern Police Department.
Police say Smith worked along Nicholas Salas. The crimes were committed early Wednesday morning and most of the items stolen were things found in vehicles like iPods and stereos, but also stolen was the van of Vonda West Cranford.
“First off, I couldn’t believe it had been stolen, and then I had no idea who had taken it, so I just, I didn’t know,” said Cranford.
Almost all of the stolen property has been returned to the rightful owners, including the Cranford’s van. Police think Smith and Salas used the van to store all of the stolen goods, which almost certainly would not have been recovered if it weren’t for Johnson’s early morning encounter.
“I’m glad they caught him. He almost stole my weed-eater and I can’t live without that (laughs).”
Both Smith and Salas are being held in the Hot Spring County jail on $30,000 bond, each charged with 12 counts of breaking and entering.