November 15, 2018  

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University Police Make Arrest of Suspect in Hattiesburg Campus, Area Burglary Cases

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University of Southern Mississippi Police recently apprehended a suspect believed to be the main perpetrator in two Hattiesburg campus robberies, along with others in the Pine Belt.

On Tuesday, Oct. 9 at approximately 4:30 p.m., officers with the USM University Police Department (UPD) arrested Andrew Payton, age 47, of Hattiesburg for two counts of commercial burglary. Officers responded to the Duff Athletic Center on the Hattiesburg campus after receiving a report of a suspicious subject inside the building. While officers were responding to the scene, Payton fled the Duff Center on foot, and after a short chase was apprehended in the stairwell of an adjacent building.

A follow-up investigation found Payton had forced his way into the football team dressing room of the Duff Center while the team was practicing, and stole petty cash, jewelry and small electronic items. At the time of his arrest, Payton was also charged with a similar incident at the Duff Center April 3.

UPD is working with several other local law enforcement agencies investigating similar robbery cases in which Payton is a suspect. .

“Our Department of Athletics staff did a great job in taking notice of Payton acting suspiciously at the Duff Center, and alerting us (UPD) in a timely manner,” UPD Assistant Chief Rusty Keyes said. “His arrest should clear several crime investigations in the Pine Belt area.”

To report information about a crime or suspicious activity at Southern Miss, contact University Police at 601.266.4986. Visit Southern Miss Safety at https://www.usm.edu/safety.