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All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.
Garland County Dispatchers received disturbing information Saturday Night in reference to several vehicle break-ins around the Marion Anderson Road Area.
Among the vehicles that were allegedly busted into were the Garland County Sheriff’s K-9 Unit, the Hot Springs Police Chief’s Unit and an HSPD K-9 Unit. The windows were smashed and items were taken from inside some of the vehicles. Other civilian vehicles were allegedly busted into as well. Items, including at least 1 civilian firearm and a civilian Bible were among the items allegedly stolen. Another HSPD Unit allegedly had it’s tire(s) slashed.
Approximately an hour after all area law enforcement officer’s went on high alert over the attacks on the vital public property, the Garland County Sheriff’s Patrol checked a couple of people on foot in the area of the break-ins. They appeared to be out of place, their clothing maintained an odd and stark pattern of wetness that did not make sense and at least 1 of the individuals was allegedly wearing gloves – at 2am, in the area of these break-ins….while it’s raining. Suspicious? yes. So, the deputies made note of it and remained in the area.
A short time after that, GCSO Deputy Delahunt observed a silver vehicle try to duck on him in the area of Jordan Street. He caught up to the vehicle as it was in front of a marked Arkansas Game & Fish Unit which was parked for the night at a residence, near the road.
After stopping the car, Dep. Delahunt determined that the 2 people inside this vehicle were the same 2 people that were allegedly noticed walking around with gloves on earlier. Only THIS time, he had probable cause to question them.
The next thing you know, all of the law enforcement in the area including GCSO CID Lt. Ware arrived to assist Deputy Delahunt. Items were located in the vehicle that were taken from the vehicles mentioned previously.
Arrested at the scene were Nemanja Stojanovic, 27 of Hot Springs and Jonathon Forte, 21 of Hot Springs.
After a meeting with the suspects, GCSO CID Investigators swore out warrants. GCSO Tactical Response Team Members and investigators swarmed a residence on Crescent Street In Hot Springs. A brief standoff ensued with the occupants of the house. Tear gas was deployed by The TRT Team. Michael Lester, a convicted felon and currently on parole, and his associates came out of the house and surrendered.
Mr. Lester was charged with (charges and bond amounts): PAROLE HOLD 0.00, POSSESSION OF FIREARM BY CERTAIN PERSONS X3 7,500.00, THEFT BY RECEIVING X2 5,000.00, BATTERY 3RD DEGREE 1,000.00, FLEEING ON FOOT 500.00, LEAVING THE SCENE OF A PROPERTY DAMAGE ACCIDENT 500.00, DOMESTIC BATTERY 3RD DEGREE 1,000.00 and FAILURE TO APPEAR 1,000.00.