Clayton, Willie.jpeg

Willie Clayton, 28

A Laurel man who is accused of breaking into Top Dollar Pawn Thursday and stealing several firearms is now pondering his decision behind bars.

Laurel police arrested Willie Clayton, 28, inside Walmart after receiving an anonymous tip as the suspect’s picture circulated on social media.

Clayton made his initial appearance in municipal court Monday, and his bond was set at $20,000 for trafficking firearms and $10,000 for burglary. A total of seven handguns were taken.

“Although we don’t want a burglary to happen in the first place, the situation worked out perfectly,” said Laurel Police Chief Tommy Cox. “A lot of people shared the picture, we got a tip, our officers worked with asset protection at Walmart and we apprehended the suspect.”

Around 4:30 a.m. Thursday, a suspect entered Top Dollar Pawn on Mason Street — just down the road from the LPD — and stole several new pistols, pawn shop owner Jamey Cooley wrote in a Facebook post. Video surveillance captured an image of the suspect, and Cooley circulated the image on social media. Once the picture was released, police started receiving tips, Cox said.

Police received a tip that Clayton was at Walmart, and he was taken into custody inside the store without incident, and after Investigator Seth Crabtree interviewed him, they recovered all of the stolen firearms from an abandoned home outside of the city limits.

Cooley posted to Facebook that the suspect had been arrested and all guns recovered.

“Thank you City of Laurel Mississippi Police Department!” he wrote.

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