Burglary suspect caught in the act

Published 10:18 am Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Franklin Police Sgt. Mark Cornell, left, and officer Brian Marvel arrest Dekwate Lankford, 18, of Franklin for allegedly breaking into a home on Thomas Street on Wednesday morning. Police caught Lankford three minutes after receiving a call from the victims, who were home during the apparent burglary. -- Gwen Albers | Tidewater News

FRANKLIN—Three minutes after Franklin police got a call about a break-in, a Franklin man was in custody.

Dekwate Lankford, 18, whose last known address was in the 1600 block of Armory Drive, Room 206, at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday is believed to have burglarized a home in the 200 block of Thomas Street, said Police Lt. Tim Whitt.

“Two women were home when the burglar entered the home,” Whitt said. “When he was confronted, he fled the scene. The caller was able to provide us with an excellent description, and we caught him within three minutes on South College Drive.”

That’s about two blocks from the victims’ home.

There also was evidence near the crime scene that links Lankford to the break-in, Whitt said.

“I can’t specify because it may damage our case,” he said.

A least one of the victims heard the suspect break a window and spotted him inside the home, Whitt said.

It’s believed Lankford acted alone.

As of mid-morning, Lankford had not been charged and police planned to question him about other residential burglaries; nearly 40 homes have been broken into in Franklin this year.

Police on March 30 arrested two Franklin men for allegedly burglarizing a total of eight homes in the city. Charles Cary, 21, of the 300 block of Pearl Street and Christopher Artis, 18, of the 1400 block of South Street were charged with break-ins at 303 W. Fourth Ave., 302 Beamon St., 599 W. Second Ave. 4A, 700 Charles St., 401 W. First Ave., 827 Cool Spring Street, 402 W. First Ave. and 305 Bogart St.

“We will definitely be looking (into additional burglaries Lankford may have committed),” Whitt said.