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Suspect tells QPD crack habit led to theft

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By Robert Allen

A vehicle burglary suspect accused of stealing a woman’s purse containing more than $1,000 claims an addiction to crack is behind the alleged crime.

Quincy Police arrested Johnny McClain on May 20 at his residence at 1938 W. Jefferson St. He had open warrants for vehicle burglary and theft from a case that has been evolving since an initial incident on Jan. 13. 

According to QPD’s arrest report, McClain approached a mother and daughter vacuuming the interior of their Nissan at the American Car Wash at 1956 West Jefferson Street — a short distance from where McClain was recently arrested. 

The woman reported McClain stopping by the open driver’s door — and then asking if he could do the vacuuming for a tip. The daughter declined, explaining she did not have spare cash on hand. 

The mother than walked to a neighboring convenience store while her daughter finished with the car. According to QPD’s report, the daughter lost sight of McClain when she resumed vacuuming. The next time she looked around for him, he was nowhere in sight. 

When the women arrived home, they discovered the purse was missing from where it had been left in the front of the car. According to the police report, the purse contained three separate envelopes, partitioned for bill payments, containing $1,099. The purse also contained three debit cards, a Social Security card and a driver’s license. 

Two months later, the mother picked McClain out of a six-person photo line-up on March 7 at the Quincy Police Department. 

Another two months later, QPD initiated contact with McClain on May 15 at his girlfriend’s home on West Jefferson Street. According to the report, the officers asked McClain to come with them to the station for questioning. McClain complied without incident. 

According to QPD’s report, McClain spiraled down a path of escalating admissions during questioning. First he said he heard about he alleged purse theft incident but wasn’t there. Then he said he was there but couldn’t remember much.

QPD then asked McClain to share what he did remember. 

McClain said he was there, according to the report. He said he offered to vacuum the car. And he said he asked for $.50 to help buy cigarettes. He also said he does this often and, accordingly, can’t recall any additional particulars. 

Then he said he stole the purse because he has a crack cocaine addiction. According to the report, he told the officers crack makes him want more crack — and he took the purse because he needed more money to buy more crack. 

According to the report, McClain said he took around $20 from the purse and then threw it — along with its remaining contents — into a Dumpster. 

McClain is currently in the county jail. His bond is set at $10,000.