WSAZ | Charleston, West Virginia | News

Suspect Caught on Camera Sneaking in to Restricted Room; Arrest Made

By: Brooks Jarosz Email
By: Brooks Jarosz Email

KANAWHA CITY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Charleston Police are cracking open a series of cases that could involve dozens of victims.

Recent thefts of wallets and purses have one man behind bars.

Late last week, police say James Russell, 30, of Charleston, walked into several employee rooms at three businesses in Kanawha City.

Most recently, one business owner's security investment helped nab the suspect after the crime was caught on camera.

Budget Tapes and Records co-owner Dave Pope says his 16 security cameras helped catch every move.

"He walks back through the store, he stands here and looks at T-shirts for a while," Pope said. "He notices he has a clear shot and goes back through the door, sees purses, looks through them, sees money, puts them down his pants and we've got him on a camera back here."

In a restricted room, the man is seen smoothly stealing and breaking away.

Investigators say Russell wanted money to get his fix for drugs.

Russell may not have gotten away with much, but police say he lives just blocks away. Investigators say he's also responsible for breaking into other places like H & R Block and the International Market along Maccorkle Avenue.

"it seems like he may have been on a death wish wanting to get caught," Pope said. "This guy was pretty brazen."

Russell was arrested and charged with three counts of breaking and entering. He's in jail on a $15,000 bond.

Police say they suspect Russell is connected to several break-ins and thefts at the Charleston Town Center Mall and the East End of the city.

Caught on camera this time, the lesson was learned to always keep a close eye everywhere.

"Just be vigilant, you just can't be too careful," Pope said. "Things need to be put away where people aren't tempted."

The investigation is far from over as detectives try to piece together items recovered from Russell's home to other victims.


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