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Officers seek thief after burglary at Garden Center

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By Alice Du Pont

Quincy police are looking for Ezzard Sterling Sapp, the man they think burglarized the Quincy Garden Center on Sept. 1.  

According to a report released by the police department, someone entered the historic building, which is commonly used for weddings and other social events, and took approximately $5,500 worth of antiques.

The center, located across the street from the police department, was entered between 8:30 p.m. on Aug. 31 and 11 a.m. Sept. 1. There were no signs of forced entry and according to Jan Anderson, who filed the report, she has one key and the only other key was inside a shed on the property.

Around 1 a.m. on Sept. 1, two officers on routine patrol stopped a man carrying a bag over his shoulder near the center, walking east on Jefferson Street. He told officers his name was Ezzard Sapp. He was described as a light-skinned black man with a short afro. He allegedly told police that he had been kicked out of his apartment on East Jefferson Street and was headed to his family's home on Malcolm Street.

At 6:59 a.m., a citizen tipped police that a man was walking east on Jefferson Street pulling a Waste-Pro trash container. The citizen followed the man, who matched the description of Sapp, until he was noticed. The man left the garbage can in the parking lot of a church not far from Malcolm Street.

Later that day, Quincy officer Clarence Pearson and Gadsden County Sheriff's Office Investigator Robbie Maxwell went to the address given by the man, who was stopped around 1 a.m. Hattie Sapp, who lives at the house, said she has several sons matching the description and although none of them live with her, they usually visit her daily.

Sapp gave permission to search her property after Maxwell noticed drag marks leading to a Waste-Pro trash can in the backyard. Behind the trash can he found several of the stolen antiques under a tarp. Inside the trash can were more antiques which had been broken into pieces. More stolen property was found inside an old vehicle, according to the report.

The key and items found in the backyard were described by Anderson as missing from the center. Officers then went to the apartment where Sapp said he lived and talked with Cynthia Thigpen, who told them that Sapp came to her home around 11 p.m. on Sept. 1 with several items, including a silver teapot, which she polished for him.

When she realized the items were stolen she kicked Sapp out and she told officers that he had other stolen items in a shopping cart. A silver tray, she said, was left by Sapp, which she gave officers.

Based on the evidence, a probable cause for burglary and grand theft warrant has been issued for Sapp.

Send your comments to adupont@gadcotimes.com.